From the collection of the
San Francisco, California
How to Know People
by their Hands
by Josef Ranald
MODERN AGE BOOKS, INC. NEW YORK
COPYRIGHT BY JOSEF RANALD, 1938
All rights in this book are reserved, and it may not
be reproduced in whole or in part without written
permission from the holder of these rights. For in-
formation address the publishers.
Manufactured in the United States of America
BY H. WOLFF BOOK MANUFACTURING CO., NEW YORK
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART I. THE ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
OF THE HANDS
I. TYPES OF HANDS 9
ELEMENTARY. . .CONIC. . .SQUARE . . .SPATULATE. . .KNOTTY
. . .POINTED . . . COMBINED TYPES . . . MIXED
H. FINGERS 19
LONG AND SHORT. . . WIDTH AND CONTOUR . . .FLEXIBILITY. . .
CROOKED . . . DOMINANT . . . PHALANXES . . . JUPITER FINGER
. . .SATURN FINGER. . .APOLLO FINGER . . .MERCURY FINGER
m. THUMB 28
LARGE AND SMALL . . . SETTING . . .PHALANXES . . .PHALANX
OF REASON. . .BASE PHALANX. . .CHARACTERISTIC SHAPES
. . . FLEXIBILITY
IV. PALM 34
HOLLOW . . . LARGE AND SMALL . . . LEFT AND RIGHT
V. MOUNTS OF THE HAND 38
MOUNT JUPITER . . . MOUNT SATURN . . . MOUNT APOLLO . . .
MOUNT MERCURY. . . MOUNT LUNA. . . MOUNT VENUS. . . THREE
MOUNTS OF MARS
VI. LINES OF THE PALM 44
COLOR. . .QUALITY. . .TIME AND AGE IN THE HAND
VII. LINE OF LIFE 50
VIII. LINE OF HEAD 52
LX. LINE OF HEART 57
X. LINE OF DESTINY 61
XI. LINE OF APOLLO 64
XII. LINES OF SEX INFLUENCE 68
LINES OF FERTILITY
XIII. LINE OF HEALTH OR HEPATICA 71
XIV. MINOR LINES OF THE HAND 71
LINE OF INTUITION. . .VIA LASCIVIA. . .GIRDLE OF VENUS
. . .LINE OF VITALITY. . .RING OF SOLOMON. . .RING OF
SATURN. . .BRACELETS. . .LINES OF TRAVEL
XV. SPECIAL MARKINGS IN THE PALM 76
STAR . . .ISLAND . . . CROSS . . . TRIANGLE . . . CIRCLE . . . TRIPOD
. . . SQUARE . . . GRILLE . . . SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SIGNS
PART II. THE DOCTOR LOOKS AT HANDS
XVI. STRUCTURE OF THE HAND 85
XVII. NAILS 88
XVIII. CONFORMATION AND SHAPE OF THE HAND 91
XIX. SKIN, LINES, AND RIDGES 94
PART III. THE HAND AS MEDIUM
XX. TYPES OF FINGERPRINTS 99
PART IV. THE HAND AS VOCATIONAL GUIDE
XXI. CHILD TRAINING 109
XXH. ADULT VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE 112
PART V. ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT 118
EDWARD, DUKE OF WINDSOR 120
ADOLF HITLER 123
BENITO MUSSOLINI 125
PAUL DOUMER 127
KATHARINE CORNELL 129
FANNIE HURST 131
HENRY WALLACE 134
LOWELL THOMAS 136
WALT DISNEY 138
HOW TO MAKE IMPRINTS AND ANALYZE YOUR
SOME time ago there was an eclipse of the sun. To study this phe-
nomenon, scientific expeditions began to gather their equipment
many months in advance. They knew what instruments would be
needed, where to go for their observations, and the exact moment
when the event would take place. This eclipse was foreseen even
before the birth of the scientists taking part in the expeditions.
Was this a case of clairvoyance penetration of the future by some
gifted seer whose word was accepted by modern scientists as suffi-
cient reason to send them voyaging thousands of miles? Not at
all. Test tubes and mathematical formulae breed men from Missouri
who want to be shown. They would certainly not have accepted the
word of inspiration on this subject any more than they would have
taken a mad Adventist's forecast of the world's end. Yet they, and
millions of others, accepted detailed predictions of the exact path
the obscuring shadow of the moon would take.
So, in other fields of science, has prediction become a matter of
course. Chemists will tell you in advance the reaction to be obtained
by combining two substances. Physicists will explain how soon and
where a projectile, shot from a certain place, will hit. Engineers
will inform you how many revolutions per minute to expect from a
wheel as the power applied is increased or decreased.
In less learned circles, everyone is willing to embark on limited
predictions about the everyday occurrences of our lives. We take for
granted that night will be followed by morning. We assume that
when we apply a match to an open gas jet the gas will ignite. We
are not surprised when we drop a pencil to see it fall to the ground.
Quite clearly, we translate a repeated occurrence into prediction
of its continuance. The scientist does not go that far. His predictions
are based on involved calculations making use of past observations.
In theory he is not so certain even as you that the sun will rise to-
morrow, for his mathematical formulae express only the probability
of such an event, not its certainty. Theoretically, his statistics give
him nothing but the betting odds for and against. In practice, how-
ever, he is able to figure the exact shift from yesterday's path, both in
time and position, by which tomorrow's sunrise will differ from
What I am trying to say is that the scientist, though he lays no
claims to an ability to make certain predictions, actually does make
predictions daily and has them accepted as valid both by his col-
leagues and by the general public.
Strangely enough, the one subject which scientists have not
brought into conformity with their formulae of statistical averages
is man himself. By and large man is completely unpredictable to him-
self. Man's own activities, his reactions, his thoughts, the various
complex factors which make up the individual are today probably less
understood than any other natural phenomenon.
The results of this course are evident everywhere. This era is
characterized by a general breakdown. In Europe a whole generation
lives from hand to mouth, making no plans for the future, dreading
a war which seems to it inevitable. The thought of chaos and death
is part of every European youth. In Asia the dam has already burst,
and men are senselessly murdering each other.
Statesmanship has proved itself a self-seeking Frankenstein. Per-
haps it is now time for scientists to take the helm instead of states-
men and generals. Man has lost his fear of thunderstorms as he has
come to understand them. What he most fears now is his fellows. I
believe that with complete understanding of himself that fear too
It seems to me that science should revolt from its subservience to
cruelty and greed and put itself at the service of the human race.
Its service would have to stem from complete understanding. Picture
to yourself a great brotherhood of men of science intent on studying
man for his own salvation. Finding the scientific leaders of this
day Carrel, Jeans, Eddington, Einstein, Huxley, Russell concerned
about the human race gives promise that such a brotherhood may
some time be realized. In that promise, I believe, lies eventual free-
dom for the majority of men from subjection to their fellows.
Of course, we have had students of man in the past, but to date
they have divided their subject into at least two separate parts.
The first part, which took in the physical aspect of man, has made
considerable headway, though, compared with the degree of cer-
tainty which governs other scientific studies, this too is still in its
infancy. The second division, man's study of his mentality, per-
sonality, consciousness, psyche you can call it what you will is
very far behind.
One reason for the lag, it seems to me, is that the division into
physical and mental compartments is an artificial one. Man is a
whole who acts and reacts as a whole. There is no physician who will
deny the interrelation between his patient's spirits and his recovery
from a dangerous illness. There is no psychologist who will not ad-
mit the effect of a disease on the behavior of his subject. Why then
let names like psychology, physiology, biology prevent us from
considering man as an entity?
Instead of regarding the "mental" and "physical" as two dis-
tinct things, many modern scientists are uniting them. The leaders
of scientific thought see both aspects of man as parts of one inte-
grated whole, the study of which some have called "psychobiology,"
a combined science of man's mental and physical being. To this new
science they are bringing the methods of objective measurement
which they use in the laboratory. If plotting statistical probabilities
has become the foundation of chemistry and physics, that coldly
impersonal method can also be used in dealing with the science of
There is still another thing we can learn from the exact sciences.
In their conclusions, scientists make use of all the evidence presented.
In studying human beings, many of our theorists have built schools
of thought around isolated sets of phenomena. Behaviorists denied
that anything but physical actions and reactions could be studied.
Freud placed us all in a half-world governed by repressed sex in-
stincts. Others claim that diet alone makes the man. Why not look
at all the evidence?
It was with some such idea that I began to write this book about
hand analysis. In a comprehensive study of man, the study of his
hands will, I am certain, play a part.
It is unfortunate that this subject has for so long been associated
with charlatanry and fortune telling. Most of us think of crystal
gazing and reading hands as very much the same thing. I myself
began my study of hands in a spirit of skepticism. In the first place,
palmistry, as I then thought of it, was associated with the death of
my best friend, a young fellow-officer in the Austrian army. Con-
sequently, I not only doubted that there was anything to handread-
ing, but I very much resented its pretensions.
My friend and I were on leave from front line warfare in 1917.
As a lark, he proposed taking me to a university professor who read
hands as a hobby. I laughed at the idea, but we went.
Almost the first words of this student of hands were that he saw
fear of death indicated in my friend's hand more than that, as the
indication was repeated in both hands, the old man predicted the
early death of my friend.
I became angry. "A safe prediction for you old men sitting at
home," I told him. "What one of us in the trenches does not fear
death? And for how many of us can you not foretell the end within
a very short time? Tell me, have I also a week?"
The old man looked at my hand. "No," he said. "You will live a
long time. You will have many narrow escapes, it is true, many ad-
ventures. You will meet the great men of this age, travel all over the
Going back on duty I was still bitter about the professor's remark
to my friend. Of course, there was nothing in the hocus-pocus, but
what a thing, I thought, to tell an eighteen-year-old boy going back
into the hell of trench warfare that he would die in a few days!
Two days later my friend was dead.
Almost miraculously, I escaped not only that time but again and
again, though I was severely wounded. Coming out of the hospital,
I was reassigned from the Galician front lines to the Austrian army
of occupation in a Ukrainian border town.
But that status was not to last long. In those historic times of
1918, armies and empires were disintegrating. I found myself de-
serted by my own men, completely out of touch with headquarters.
The situation was hardly conducive to the long life which had been
promised me, but I took what steps I could to safeguard myself.
In a peasant cart I set out for the town in which divisional head-
quarters were located. The route to be traveled was a dangerous one.
Everywhere the country was beset by roving men, deserters tired of
organized slaughter, wandering about, preaching revolution. An offi-
cer's uniform was not a recommendation for their clemency. Even
more of a menace to travelers were the bandits who were picking the
country's already bare skeleton.
My cart safely passed through two or three groups of foragers but
finally fell into the hands of another. I was dragged from the cart
into the woods. Even now I can recall the feeling of that beating.
At the time I only hoped that they would continue to beat me into
insensibility so that I might not feel too much if they decided to be
slow and unpleasant about killing me.
They left me leaning against a tree, too tired even to hope for a
quick death, as all but one of them withdrew for supper. Dimly I
could feel the world about me, the fading sunlight, the dancing
shadows of the leaves, the evening chirruping of the birds. I do not
remember being afraid. I was not even interested, only numbly
aware of discomfort.
I raised my hand to wipe a trickle of blood out of my eye. The
red sun, sinking, blended with the red blood on my hand, and every
line, every mark in my palm was etched in crimson. I raised my
hand and stared at the outlines written in blood. From far off there
came into my mind the memory of the professor's forecast of a long
life. That seemed to me a wonderful joke. I looked over at the
group of men sitting about their fire and no doubt at that very
moment planning my death. The joke became too much for me. I
laughed out loud.
My guard looked at me in amazement. He called to the leader to
find out what the madman was laughing at. Slowly the bearded cap-
tain walked over and stared. I could not help it. I kept on rocking
and gasping with laughter
"Are you crazy?" asked my captor.
I explained. The joke was really too good to keep to myself.
"See," I said. "It is here written that I am to live long and have
much good fortune before I die." And again I went off into crazy
Suddenly a movement from the captain caught my attention. He
had raised his own rough, dirt-cracked hand and was studying it
curiously. Automatically, I still can't explain why, I reached over
and seized his hand, turned it palm up and began to speak.
I told the ragged man a tale of greatness, of power, riches and
domination. Words came fast, without thought. I soon had an au-
dience. When the leader appeared satisfied with the glories I had
found in his hand, he motioned for another to step forward and
learn from my strange wisdom.
All night long in the dancing light of a small fire, I continued to
look at hands and make up stories to go with them. Fatigue and
everything else disappeared. I only saw hands and knew that I must
keep on talking. With day, the men stopped their discussion of
what I had told them and thought of food. They included me in
their meal and then gathered to decide my fate. I was surprised
when they offered me freedom and an escort to ensure my safety.
Certainly there was very little in this experience to convince me
of there being a scientific foundation for hand analysis. My conclu-
sion was that people were gullible, would believe anything, even take
seriously the fantastic stories of a man fighting for his life. But my
curiosity was aroused. Later, as roving newspaper correspondent, I
had many excellent opportunities to study the hands of almost every
country's outstanding personages. I determined to satisfy my
Since then, I have collected and studied more than ten thousand
handprints. As I continued, I did become more and more convinced
that the hand actually showed something of a man's character,
health, temperament and even his fate, at least to the extent that the
last is affected by the other factors. I continued to add to my collec-
tion of handprints, feeling that the more examples I studied, the more
certain I would be in my conclusions. With a larger ana larger
sampling to go by, I felt that I could draw some conclusions from
my findings. On the basis of probabilities derived from statistical
averages, I could associate certain markings in the hand with certain
characteristics in men and women.
If this point of view is applied to the reading of hands, it seems
to me that all the superstition and occultism of ancient palmistry
can be discarded. There is then left a study which can be of great
value to all sciences dealing with the study of man. Hand analysis
should become a part, perhaps a very important part of the new
composite study, psychobiology. The physician has already found
the hands an aid in making diagnoses. In my opinion, he can make
of them a very accurate index to certain ailments which manifest
their symptoms in the skin, texture, nails, bones and palm of the
As for the psychologist, the study of hands provides him with a
fund of information capable of being dealt with in a thoroughly
scientific manner. Best of all, the hands, in my opinion, are a bridge
by means of which we can join the physician's, biologist's and
physiologist's approach to his subject with that of the psychologist.
There are, for example, the endocrine glands, tiny, little-under-
stood cells whose malfunctioning is registered by symptoms in the
hands as well as by other physiological changes and also by profound
changes in the mentality of a person, sometimes by complete shifts
in personality. Physicians and psychologists recognize that attempts
to change lefthandedness often lead to speech defects, mental re-
tardation and even serious psychological maladjustments, especially
in children. Daily we are adding to the evidence that hands are
closely associated with all the other factors which make a human
being what he is.
To the anthropologists, the study of hands should be of special
interest. The various races have not only characteristic facial and
cranial variations, but also marked differences in their hands. The
hands of Negroes are long and narrow. The northern white races
have large, broad hands. Mongolians usually have hands medium
to small in size with long, sinewy fingers.
Different nationalities also tend to develop characteristic hands.
The composite which is known as American is developing a hand
rather longer in the fingers than that of the European nations which
migrated here. The American hand has a prominent ridge across the
back. The palm and fingers tend to be hard and dry. The nails are
large and well shaped.
Perhaps even more than the shape of the hand, its language would
interest the anthropologist. I am sure that there is a wealth of in-
formation in the gestures and motions by which men supplement
their spoken language. Why are the Latins so much more expansive
in their gestures than the Anglo-Saxons? What determines the dif-
ferent motions by which individuals express the same thing? What
causes the habitual muscular response of one person or one nation
to differ so markedly from another's response to the same stimulus?
The answers to these questions will surely throw some light on our
own origins and functionings.
I realize that this has become a long introduction, but the popular
misconceptions about my subject call for much explanation. Palmis-
try has occupied some of the most profound minds of the past.
The Chaldeans, the Assyrians and Egyptians were devotees of the
art. Ancient Chinese civilizations thought that hidden meanings and
occult signs could be read in the lines of the hand. Athenian philoso-
phers have left treatises on palmistry, both Plato and Aristotle having
written on the subject. Roman emperors were among its practition-
ers, and from ancient times to this day statesmen, kings, princes and
adventurers have, before important ventures tested their luck by
asking the aid of palmists.
Unfortunately the mystic and occult powers assigned to palmists
almost from the beginning of time prevented study of the hands from
developing into an exact science. That it is capable of being so de-
veloped I am fully convinced. I have tried in this book to approach
the subject from an entirely pragmatic point of view. I have wanted
to strip hand analysis of all its false trappings of mysticism. At best
the subject is still a pseudo-science retaining much that is inferen-
tial rather than proven by experience. That however is unfortu-
nately true of almost all the methods so far used in studying our-
If this book succeeds at all in breaking through the superstitions
which hide the true worth of hand analysis I shall feel that it has
served its purpose. I should like, if nothing else, to arouse the
curiosity of those who are better equipped than I to pursue the
study in all its branches and implications. I feel convinced that care-
ful scientific study of our hands has much to tell us. I look forward
to the day when this will be acknowledged by all thoughtful men.
Until that day, I can only hope that I have done a little to bring
PART ONE Analysis and Interpretation
Chapter I. THE VARIOUS TYPES OF HANDS AND
'WHAT, will these hands ne'er be clean? Here's the smell of blood
still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand."
More truly than she knew, was the sign of murder on Lady Mac-
beth's hand. In people's hands are all their buried hopes, their
wants, their loves, their passions the best and worst they have
ever done or ever hope to do. If you can read the stories in their
hands, you will know your friends and enemies even better than
they know themselves.
One of the few things which modern, scientific hand analysis has
retained from the lore of ancient palmistry is the classification of
human hands by their shapes. Though various students of the
hand have divided their subject into as many as 170 typical divisions,
most authorities agree on seven basic types, each with its character-
THE ELEMENTARY HAND
The elementary hand belongs to the simplest and least cultivated
persons. It is easily recognized, being thick, clumsy and stolid-
looking. Its fingers are short in proportion to the palm and have a
stubby, childish appearance. The fingernails, too, have a squatty
shape. Hands like this perform the heavy labor of the world with-
out questioning. They show little or no imagination. They do not
indicate sensitiveness to beauty, though their owners may be senti-
mentally affected by simple melodies, symbolic pictures or tender
With this elementary hand go strong family affection and prideful
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
nationalism. Emotionally, the owners of such hands are limited to
simple, direct responses. The elementary hand does not show vio-
lent temper, as some authorities believe. In my experience, owners
of such hands may be among the mildest and kindest of beings,
though physical expression is their usual reaction to outside stimuli.
Hence, the legend that they are brutal. But, actually, only certain
types of elementary-handed persons, in whom jealousy or other prim-
itive passions are easily aroused, are given to violence, and their out-
bursts are of the moment, rarely lasting after the first impulse has
This type of hand is fast disappearing. As men improve their
physical conditions and broaden their cultural interests their hands
reflect the change.
THE CONIC HAND
Today one of the most common types is the conic, or sensitive
hand (see plate 1). It derives its name from its cone-like or trian-
gular shape, broad at the base and tapering at the tip. The pure type
is conically shaped both in the palm and in the fingers, each finger
tapering from a wide base to a small tip. The fingertips are rounded,
sometimes slightly pointed.
TYPES OF HANDS 11
The conic hand is the hand of feeling, not of action. At its worst,
when the palm is soft, full and without energy, it marks the intro-
spective dreamer. It shows a vivid inner life, which may be shared
with others through conversation, but rarely through activity. The
conic hand usually indicates a quick mentality, an intuitive grasp of
ideas, an enthusiastic responsiveness but an interest which wanes
People who shine in company and like to be with others often
have conic hands those who are admirably fitted for a social role,
being quick, impulsive, talkative, witty and sometimes a bit ma-
licious. They have hundreds of friendships and no friends, for they
form no deep attachments. Even in love, they are inclined to be
fickle. They are generous, so long as generosity requires no great
effort on their part. They love luxury and comfort. They are vain,
easily flattered and easily hurt.
On the finer side, people with tapering hands make up the appre-
ciative audiences which keep our artists, poets, sculptors, painters
and musicians alive. The conic hand is often called "artistic." This,
I have found, gives the wrong impression. Persons with conic hands
do not have the energy and force required to create beauty. They
appreciate it. They enjoy it and respond to it intuitively, often with-
out analysis or theoretical understanding.
When the conic hand is firm and full of energy, all its weaker
attributes are modified, and the strong ones emphasized. Adding
stability to quick understanding, such hands promise much more
consistent brilliancy. The result is not only day dreams, but actual
THE SQUARE HAND
The square, or realistic hand (see plate 2) is almost the exact op-
posite of the conic. Its name describes its appearance. Palm, fingers,
tips, nails all have a squared-off, rectangular shape. To identify it,
look for those indications and look especially for a straight line at
the wrist and at the base of the fingers, with all the fingers attached
at about the same level.
The square hand is the useful, practical, methodical hand. It
12 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
usually indicates a planned life, and interests narrower than for the
conic hand, but greater thoroughness and application directed in
those interests. Success almost always accompanies the square hand
unless other indications deny its potentialities, but achievement is
usually slow, through method and persistence, not through flashing
brilliance. In dealing with others, squarehanded people are punctili-
ous, slightly formal and exceedingly honest. In business, they are
efficient; they have a knack of handling subordinates with imper-
sonal fairness; and their driving force is an even, constant pres-
sure, moving them forward. Depending on other signs in the hand,
squarehanded people are capable of being either forceful executives
or efficient subordinates.
But the lighter side is very much toned down in persons with real-
istic, square hands. The arts are studied and indulged in only if they
also serve a mundane purpose, like social advancement. Square-
handed people are likely to be narrow-minded in matters outside
their immediate interests. They oppose social progress, scoff at radi-
cal scientific achievement, and pooh-pooh anything which smacks
of mysticism. At worst, they are dogmatic, assertive, unimaginative
and domineering. At best, they are efficient, self-confident, honest
and logical. Their affections rarely conflict with their worldly inter-
ests, though in family relations they are likely to be indulgent and
TYPES OF HANDS
ambitious. They have great regard for custom and tradition, though
they are not easily swayed by others.
THE SPATULATE HAND
A hand which promises an interesting and active life is the
spatulate, or energetic (see plate 3). It gets its name from its
spready, broad fingertips and fanlike palm, shaped like the flat
spatula knife which chemists use for mixing. Its palm may be
broader at either the wrist or at the base of the fingers.
The outstanding attributes of a spatulate hand are driving en-
ergy, restlessness, mental and physical daring. The owners of spatu-
late hands are always forceful personalities, sometimes eccentric,
more often just highly individualistic. They are neither credulous
nor overly skeptical, approaching new ideas with enthusiasm, but
applying sound reasoning.
Persons with spatulate hands tend to accept others for what
they are. They have no desire to reform or to possess their friends.
Consequently, their attachments may be strong, although on the
surface they may appear casual. This is not fickleness in the usual
sense, where like turns to dislike, love to malicious backbiting, as is
sometimes true of those who have conic hands. On the contrary, the
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
spatulate-handed are extremely loyal in friendship and cameraderie,
less so in love ; but shared experiences are the basis for their friend-
ships, and parting leaves fondness without sense of loss.
The spatulate hand looks for conflict and difficulties to surmount.
When it shows no humanity, its owner is likely to be tyrannical.
Mussolini has such a hand, and Genghis Khan undoubtedly had.
Where mental qualities are most highly developed, the spatulate
hand is that of the most daring scientists, men whose quest for ad-
venture takes them into uncharted realms of knowledge. Where physi-
cal qualities predominate, you will find it to be that of the soldier of
fortune, the explorer, the adventurer. The balanced spatulate hand
is usually found in great engineers, inventors and builders. Empire
makers and destroyers have spatulate hands.
THE KNOTTY HAND
The knotty or profound ( see plate 4 ) hand, also referred to as the
philosophic hand, is one which goes with deep thought. You can rec-
ognize the type by its bony structure the joints large, the back of
the hand ridged, the general outline irregular. Its fingertips are usually
pointed or rounded.
Logic in its narrow sense is the outstanding trait of the knotty
TYPES OF HANDS 15
hand. It is the logic of abstract thought, which builds hypotheses
without regard for reality, rather than the logic of practicality.
The knotty-handed person delights in the intricacies of higher math-
ematics or metaphysical discussion. Material wellbeing is of no con-
sequence to the owner of this philosophic hand. He is contemptuous
of worldly success and is frequently almost foolhardy in generosity
with his possessions. Yet he can be miserly, though unconsciously
so, with himself, shutting himself into a world of his own and re-
fusing even to recognize the travail and suffering of his neighbors.
He is tolerant of all shades of opinion.
When aroused, however, the person with the profound type of
hand is a fearless advocate of the rights of others. His sense of
justice, his love of freedom, his contempt for meanness and cow-
ardice place him among the bravest fighters for the rights of man.
THE POINTED HAND
The most beautiful hand is the intuitive or pointed one (see
plate 5). It has the beauty of fragile porcelain, and its weakness.
You will very rarely see anyone with the intuitive hand in its pure
form, but many have hands so nearly approaching the type that I
shall list it as one of the basic shapes. It is long and narrow, with
slender, tapering fingers and long, oval, pointed nails.
The pointed hand is the hand of spiritual fervor. It goes with a
trusting overcredulous nature. It has the intense emotionalism of a
child, to whom everything is black as pitch one moment, radiant the
next. There is no anger in this type, nor any feeling of energy
or fury. Those with pointed hands are mild and forgiving, easily
hurt, but easily forgetting. They are not so much illogical as with-
out logic or cool judgment. They have no idea how to be businesslike
Yet, persons with pointed hands have a compensatory gift. What
they are unable to reason out logically, they often grasp more directly.
They are highly intuitive, extremely sensitive to feelings and impres-
sions. They are attuned to receive waves or currents too delicate for
other persons and even too delicate to register on the most sensitive
instruments so far devised by man. For this reason, they make ex-
16 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
cellent mediums, though frequently they are unaware of their sixth
Love of beauty and disgust with ugliness are often guiding prin-
ciples in the lives of those who have intuitive hands. The authors of
our most inspired lyrical poetry have often had this type of hand.
They live through their feelings. Their emotions swing from ecstasy,
when they are loved, to despair when they feel themselves lonely and
Of course, there are few persons nowadays whose hands are of one
type alone. Most of us are much more complex than that. There are
various combinations, such as a square hand with exceptionally
long, though still squaretipped fingers (see plate 6). Such a combi-
nation is an excellent one, the long fingers adding an inquiring mind
and keen observation to the practical nature which goes with a
purely square hand.
Knotty fingers on a square hand (see plate 7) will add mental
originality, a sense of justice and daring to the qualities indicated
by squareness. Spatulate fingers with a square hand give originality
TYPES OF HANDS
and energy. Such a combination is excellent ior an inventor. A square
hand with conic or pointed fingers is a good indication for creative
art work, the square palm giving method and perseverance, the
tapering fingers contributing sensitiveness and love of beauty. Even
in this combination, however, the force and drive of energy are
needed to make for real accomplishment.
THE MIXED HAND
More common even than a hand combining only two types is the
thoroughly mixed or versatile hand (see plate 8). In this, the fingers
often belong to different types, and the palm may be of still another
shape, or combine characteristics of a number of different ones.
The outside edge may, for example, tend to the oval, the other be
To analyze such a hand, the student must determine what its
dominant forces are. I shall discuss that in the chapter on the
mounts and in the one about the fingers. Aside from what the indi-
vidual fingers tell us, we can consider certain tendencies common to
all mixed hands.
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
The mixed hand shows versatility combined with a variability of
purpose which often negates the former. People with mixed hands
are facile, resourceful, adaptable. They are restless and inquisitive,
enthusiastic and inventive. But they often fail to develop any one of
their many gifts to its limit and so become jacks of all trades and
masters of none. Of course, the weaknesses in a mixed hand are less-
ened by energy and purpose and magnified if the will is not strong.
In studying a hand, try to classify it according to one of the
seven types. If, as is most often true, you decide that your subject
is of the mixed type, then determine what the dominant traits are.
When the hand is so much a mixture that you cannot point to any
one or two dominants, then make a careful analysis of the fingers,
lines and mounts, balancing the various factors against each other.
Chapter II. THE FINGERS
SINCE most hands are of the mixed type, each finger must be con-
sidered separately. The fingers, being instruments of the brain and
connected with it through the tiny telegraph wires of the nerves,
represent certain qualities. Each finger indicates specific talents or
failings. The size of the finger, its shape, its texture and propor-
tions, modify the basic qualities represented by that finger.
To be considered good, fingers should be straight, in proportion
to the rest of the hand, and they should be set level with each other
at their bases. A low base detracts from the qualities represented by
a finger. Fingers set close together indicate a formal, restrained, sus-
picious nature. Wide spaces show unconventionality and a free and
In chirology, there are only four fingers (see plate 9), the thumb
being so important that it is classed by itself. The index finger is
called the first, or finger of Jupiter. The middle finger, the second.
is the finger of Saturn. The ring finger, third, is the finger of Apollo.
The little finger, fourth and last, is the finger of Mercury.
These names were adopted in early times. Because palmistry was
associated with astrology, the four fingers received the names of
20 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
planets, more remotely, of Roman gods. For convenience, I am re-
taining the traditional finger names, though of course I do not con-
nect them in any way with the schematic superstitions of astrology.
LONG AND SHORT FINGERS
In studying the fingers, two important things must first be deter-
mined: whether the fingers as a whole are long (see plate 10) or
short (see plate 11) and which one or two fingers are dominant ones.
Length cannot be judged entirely from the relative size of the fingers
and the palm, for a hand may have an unusually long palm with
normal fingers, which would make the fingers appear short rather
than normal. When the palm is approximately the same in width as
in length, normal fingers would be about as long, reaching almost
to the wrist if doubled over. Long ones would reach the wrist or
even beyond it, and short ones would end above. This test cannot,
however, actually be made by bending the hand, for the stiffness
of the hand and its thickness, almost as much as the fingers' length,
would determine how far the fingers reach. The best method is to
judge the distance by eye or actual measurement.
For ideal balance, the thumb should be as long as the fourth
finger and the first as long as the third. Of course, greatness rarely
goes with ideal balance. It is the unusual strength of certain traits
which gives us geniuses and leaders as well as crackpots and crim-
inals. Long fingers, on the whole, indicate patience, love of detail,
system and order. Short ones go with impulsiveness, action, speed.
WIDTH AND CONTOUR OF FINGERS
Thick fingers are the practical, materialistic ones. When they are
very thick, they show love of luxury and a tendency towards self-
indulgence. Thin fingers may show indulgence of a different kind
petulance and worry for thin fingers are exacting and nervous.
As to the contours, smoothness when the joints do not protrude
indicates an open, frank, company-loving nature, light-hearted,
talkative and somewhat shallow. Knotty joints go with seriousness,
thought and mental self-sufficiency.
Whether the fingers are flexible or stiff is extremely significant.
Firm fingers show an intense, passionate, violent nature, one which
might accomplish great things individually or as a leader, but which
cannot cooperate with others or work as a subordinate. The draw-
backs of such fingers are intolerance, stubbornness and lack of tact.
The last is especially pronounced when the fingers are short as well
With flexibility goes an intensification of the qualities of the
mount and finger. Supple fingers indicate adaptability, tact, wit and
success in social contacts, though not necessarily a love of company.
Crooked fingers (see plate 12) show distortion or misuse of the
qualities which go with the misshapen finger, but the knotty, bony
structure of the profound hand should not be confused with bent or
crooked shape. Nor is crookedness the same as a slight bending to
22 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
one side. Fingers bent laterally (see plate 13) always emphasize
shrewdness, and this indication should be studied in conjunction
with the particular qualities ascribed to the finger having such a
bend. A finger twisted on its axis exaggerates the moral or physical
defects associated with that finger.
In most persons, the fingers differ greatly from each other in
length, smoothness, thickness, and so forth. It is therefore important
not only to determine which qualities predominate for the hand as a
whole, but to relate them to the traits which go with each particular
finger. There will, of course, be contradictions. In some cases, these
indicate actual conflicts within the personality for most of us are
complex, made up of many warring desires and characteristics. In
other cases, a dominant trait may completely negate the signposts
of an opposing quality.
For that reason, I have found it extremely important to decide,
quite early in the process of an analysis, just which are the domi-
nant characteristics. Size, both length and thickness, and the gen-
eral contours of a hand will indicate which finger is the dominant
one. A finger which is larger than normal in proportion to the others,
or one toward which the others appear to lean, usually shows the
dominant influence in a hand.
But before considering the fingers individually, I want to discuss
the divisions of the fingers, that is, the three joints or phalanxes.
The nail phalanx is always referred to as the first (see plate 14, the
joints marked A) ; the middle division as the second (see plate 14,
the joints marked B) ; the one nearest the palm, the third (see plate
14, the joints marked C). I have found that you can divide the
phalanxes roughly, classing the first (A) in each finger as indi-
cator of mental qualities, the second (B), of practical and business
qualities, the third (C) as guide to physical qualities.
It is my experience that persons with long first phalanxes are
most active in the mental field. When the second phalanx is longest
and largest, the practical and business side will be uppermost. When
the third phalanx leads, I have found the subject greatly absorbed
in the physical side of life.
THE JUPITER FINGER
The first finger, Jupiter (see plate 9), indicates ambition, love of
power, pride, leadership and also devoutness. When this finger is the
dominant one (see plate 15), some or all these qualities will, in vary-
ing degree, be strong motivations. When the finger is very inflexible,
cruelty and tyranny may be added to the qualities of leadership.
If the Jupiter finger is hooked, the ambition will be a selfish one,
and the owner of such a finger may not be overscrupulous in his
choice of means. A very thin and nervous index finger, even though
long, does not mean purposeful ambition or leadership. Rather does
it indicate the frustrated wish for power, realized only in day-
Of course, the first phalanx and the fingertip modify the general
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
meaning of a long first finger. A pointed tip on the first finger de-
notes intuition especially if the inside surf ace is very full; square
tip shows love of truth; a spatulate one, bigotry; an oval one, re-
finement. When the nail phalanx is long, intuition is again empha-
sized; while a short first phalanx indicates the skeptic. Thickness
of Jupiter's first phalanx implies sensual qualities, and a thin nail
phalanx on the first finger indicates austere rigidity.
The middle phalanx when long shows determination; lack of en-
ergy when it is short ; selfishness when it is thick ; and honors, rather
than riches, as the spur of ambition, when this phalanx is thin.
A long base phalanx on the index finger is a sign of love of power;
a short one, of modesty and resignation. Thickness here shows sen-
suality or gluttony; slenderness, control of the appetites.
THE SATURN FINGER
The second, or Saturn finger as the middle finger is called (see
plate 9), governs thought. When this finger is the dominant one (see
plate 16), towering above its two neighbors, our subject is likely to
be serious and given to solitude. He may have humor, but it is prob-
ably of a satiric nature. A weak second finger, whether unusually
short or abnormally thin, shows frivolity or lack of concentration.
If the nail phalanx of the Saturn finger (see plate 14, 2A) is long
and tapering, we can be sure of a cautious, persistent and sincere
personality. If the tip is pointed, look for lightness. When it is square,
expect a serious person with sound judgment. A spatulate tip on the
Saturn finger shows the pessimist. A short first phalanx indicates
the fatalist; a thick one, carelessness; a very thin one, cruelty.
The middle phalanx on the Saturn finger (see plate 14, 2B), when
long, shows precision and a scientific approach; when short the
opposite credulity and a mystical bent. Thick, it goes with great
physical energy and capacity for manual labor; thin, with philo-
sophic logic and exactness.
A long base phalanx on the middle finger (see plate 14, 2C) indi-
cates love of solitude; a short one, lack of control in giving either
meanness or overgenerosity. This phalanx, if thick, shows a material-
istic and plodding temperament; if thin, it indicates miserliness.
Thus, a short, thin base phalanx on the Saturn finger would certainly
indicate meanness rather than overgenerosity.
THE APOLLO FINGER
The third finger, that of Apollo (see plate 9), governs sociability,
the arts, and self-esteem. To have this finger dominant is an excel-
lent sign for actors, singers, and those who seek careers in the applied
arts. The top phalanx in this finger (see plate 14, 3 A) has a great
variety of connotations, depending on its size and shape. Bent back,
it indicates appreciation of beauty. This appreciation takes on a
formal quality when the phalanx is thin, a hint of sensuality if it is
thick. A pointed tip on the Apollo finger signifies a tendency towards
mysticism and a clinging to false values in judgment. A short phalanx
shows simplicity; a long one, eccentricity, a seeking after queer,
sometimes unattainable objectives. With an oval tip, I have usually
found ease in speech, sometimes lack of discretion. A square tip
shows a positive, certain nature; a spatulate one energy and activity.
The middle phalanx in the Apollo finger (see plate 14, 3B) is
extremely important for those in creative fields, for it shows creative
ability when it is long and lack of aesthetic sensibility when it is
short. Thickness goes with originality.
26 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
The base phalanx of the Apollo finger (see plate 14, 3C) indicates
the realist if it is short, the coxcomb if it is long. Thickness in this
phalanx bespeaks a sense of dramatics and a love of color; a thin,
waisted shape, indifference, lack of enthusiasm.
THE MERCURY FINGER
The fourth, or little finger, which is called the finger of Mercury
(see plate 9), governs business abilities and the faculty of speech,
whether written or oral. The tip of this finger shows inventiveness
and restlessness, an active and resourceful nature, when it has a
spatulate shape ; common sense, when it is square ; a visionary, meta-
physical strain, when it is pointed; and refinement, a formal sense of
values, when it is oval. If Mercury's top phalanx is hooked, it indi-
cates a self-centered, not overscrupulous person ; and when it is bent
back, you will find someone who is inquisitive and talkative. Length
in this phalanx shows love of study, though usually study of a practi-
cal nature. Shortness indicates mental laziness. Thickness is a sign of
lack of delicacy.
A very thin middle phalanx in the little finger (see plate 14, 4B)
gives us the gambler, or a very ambitious person who is impatient of
the usual methods of fulfilling his ambitions. A long middle phalanx
indicates a commercial or legal bent. A short middle phalanx shows
When the base phalanx of the Mercury finger (see plate 14, 4C)
is long, look for eloquence and cunning; when it is short, a straight-
forward, credulous nature. If this phalanx is thick, you have an indi-
cation of sex complexes; thin, of a precise, analytical mind.
HOW TO INTERPRET THE FINGERS
The fingers, indicating as they do the special talents and aptitudes
of the person you are studying, are most important in applying hand
analysis to vocational guidance or training. The indications of the
fingers must, however, be read in conjunction with the information
revealed by the hand as a whole and by the lines and markings in
the palm. For example, when a very long base on the finger of Mer-
cury, the little finger, indicates eloquence and cunning, and you find
that other signs show a timid, retiring nature, you may be sure you
have a potential demagogue, but one who is likely to remain anony-
mous, appealing through the written word, or possibly making no use
at all of his gift of eloquence. Thus, the various contradictory evi-
dences must be balanced against one another. You should accept as
keynotes to the personality you are studying only the strong traits
or those which are consistently indicated throughout the entire hand.
Chapter III. THE THUMB
WHEN Professor G. Elliot Smith identified the few fragments of
bone which are all that remains of the Peking Man as definitely those
of a very early human being, and not of an ape, he based his classifi-
cation on the hand, especially the thumb. More than any other mem-
ber, the thumb marks man as different from the beasts. If you want
the secret of what distinguishes the leader, the creator, the successful
and influential man from his fellows, likely as not, you will find that
secret in his thumb.
Notice how short and rigid are the thumbs on plate 17, showing
handprints made by an anthropoid ape. In the hand of man, the
thumb is opposable, that is, it can swing in an arc and touch every
one of the other fingers. An ape's thumb cannot. Our manual dexter-
ity, our ability to handle tools, to create, to build, to write, to guide
fine instruments, we owe to our thumbs.
LARGE AND SMALL THUMBS
The thumb, unlike the fingers which tell of specific talents, governs
the general qualities of will, reason and appetites. Therefore, the
thumb and fingers must be considered together, for the thumb will
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
usually tell what use we put our gifts to. A large thumb strengthens
the qualities of weak fingers, deficient in energy and practicality. It
also emphasizes those qualities in a hand already having energy and
will, perhaps to an extent which may be brutalizing. A large thumb
adds quickness and determination to the practicality of short fingers.
A small thumb negates the force of such hands. A large thumb is
excellent with long fingers, for it bolsters their method and thought-
fulness. A small thumb makes the long-fingered person fussy and
irritable, conscious of small details but unwilling or unable to work
Conic or pointed fingertips with a small thumb show artistic feel-
ing but no creative power. Add a large thumb to such fingers, and you
are likely to have a poet or artist. Large thumbs increase the power
and energy of spatulate tips and give direction and purpose to square
hands. Small thumbs always detract from the positive qualities of a
hand, not so much by lessening the talents as by interfering with their
The normal thumb, when held straight up along the side of the
hand, should reach to about the middle of the index finger's base
phalanx (see plate 18), and its second and third phalanx should be
of equal size.
THE THUMB'S SETTING
Of course, the relative height of the thumb measured by the first
finger differs with the setting of the thumb whether high or low on
the hand. Often a low-set thumb, even when it is long, will reach only
to the base of the first finger.
The lower on the side of the hand the origin of the thumb, the
greater the intelligence, as a rule. When the thumb is set low (see
plate 19), it is able to move in a wide, sweeping arc, indicating a
generous, liberty-loving, independent and sympathetic person. When
the thumb is high-set (see plate 20), especially if it is held close to
the hand, you will find a secretive, cautious and timid disposition. If
the thumb is set very close to the hand and appears inflexible, you
30 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
can expect meanness and suspicion; but if the other aspects of the
hand are good, the close setting may indicate only lack of self-
confidence, shyness and oversensitiveness. This is particularly so in
persons who normally hide their thumbs in the half-closed palm. A
medium setting of the thumb with free movement at the side of the
hand indicates a person who is well balanced, neither extravagant
nor mean, neither obstinate nor weak-willed ; frank, honest and loyal.
THE THUMB'S PHALANXES
In the thumb the three phalanxes have very specific significance
the first (see plate 14, TH-A) governing will, the second (see plate
14, TH-B) reason and logic, the base phalanx (see plate 14, TH-C)
feeling and appetites. When the first, or will phalanx, is excessively
developed, stiff and very much larger than the second phalanx, I have
usually found an obstinate person with a violent temper and the
need to impose his own will and desires on others. A more delicate
tip on a highly-developed will-phalanx modifies its brutality with
sensitiveness. A broad, spatulate tip increases the force, brutality
and strength. A square tip gives us a very unimaginative, stubborn
person, a fanatic in his own narrow way.
When the will-phalanx is too short in proportion to the rest of the
thumb, we can expect weak will, a person easily influenced by others
and falling for every temptation. A pointed or tapering end on a
short will-phalanx indicates almost hopeless weakness. A forceful
tip on a short will-phalanx diminishes the weakness.
THE PHALANX OF REASON
The second thumb phalanx (see plate 14, TH-B) governs per-
ception, judgment and reasoning powers. If long, it gives the ability
to plan to make decisions, to use sound judgment. When a long sec-
ond phalanx is combined with a short will-phalanx, you find a person
who can make intricate plans but falls short in their execution. On
the other hand, a deficient phalanx of reason with strong will, leads
to action which may often be foolish or misapplied. Waisted forma-
tion of the phalanx of reason goes with an ability to make fine dis-
THE BASE PHALANX OF THE THUMB
The base phalanx of the thumb (see plate 14, TH-C) governs af-
fection and the senses. When this section is long, these attributes are
strong, and, if the phalanx is at the same time thin, the passions will
be under control. Fleshiness in this portion of the hand indicates self
indulgence, egotism, love of domination, and a tendency to exploit
others. A normal development of the thumb's base phalanx gives us
well-balanced control, an affectionate disposition, and a sense of fair-
CHARACTERISTIC SHAPES OF THE THUMB
There are many very distinct variations in the shape of the thumb.
With the elementary hand, we usually find an almost shapeless
thumb, heavy, short and coarse. With this thumb, we will usually
discover little intelligence or control, and a coarse brutality.
The club-shaped thumb (see plate 21) has a heavy, ball-shaped
will-phalanx, thick and round, with a short nail of rough texture. This
shape assures tremendous obstinacy and, in a hand which is otherwise
32 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
of low grade, a violent temper. Because of its association with vio-
lence, the club-shaped thumb has been called the "murderer's thumb,"
though of course it does not actually indicate a murderer. In fact,
the violent characteristics linked to it may be completely submerged
and never given expression.
In nervous persons, I have often found the thumb quite flat, as
though spread out by a weight and usually soft and flabby in texture.
A thumb which has a broad structure and firm, healthy texture
tells of determination backed by aggressiveness and physical strength.
I have frequently found thumbs of this type on the hands of highly
When the will-phalanx is broad on the nail side and spread out
into a paddle-like shape (see plate 22), you have strong determina-
tion, which, if over-developed, becomes tyranny and obstinacy. The
paddle shape gives strength even if the phalanx is flat from front to
back, though in that case the strength may be only mental control
with low physical endurance.
A very long and slender thumb indicates sensitiveness, accom-
panied by great power of will, excellent reasoning ability, and in-
The ideal for a normal hand is, of course, a thumb of normal length
and thickness, well-shaped and evenly proportioned. It shows strength
of will as well as the capacity for logical reasoning. With such a
thumb, you will find diplomacy, firmness, intelligence, and discrimi-
The flexibility of the thumb, almost as much as its shape, tells
the character of its possessor. A stiff joint (see plate 23) which holds
the thumb in a straight line and close to the hand indicates prac-
ticality, caution, reliability and materialism. When the texture and
shape of a stiff thumb are coarse, these qualities degenerate to crass-
A flexible thumb (see plate 24), bending outward at the joint,
shows an extravagant, open-hearted, adventurous nature. Emotional
exuberance, brilliant social qualities, adaptability and wit go with
this supple thumb. To make for happiness, these fortunate qualities
should, however, be checked by practicality and self-reliance.
In studying a hand, always balance the indications of the thumb
with the traits shown by the fingers and palm. A strong thumb on a
sensitive, weak hand may supply the force needed to bring complete
realization of the self. A weak thumb may negate all the gifts of a
Chapter IV. THE PALM
THE palm itself, its shape and consistency, aside from the markings
upon it, tells much about the person whose hand you are studying.
Development of the hand, which is the instrument of the brain, is
dependent on all the biological and chemical factors which also de-
termine the personality. Studies of the ductless glands have given us
some understanding of the complicated chemistry governing human
energy, sex, and nervous reactions, from the simplest reflex to in-
volved inhibitions and neuroses.
This same machinery of nerve communication and glandular secre-
tions, which decides the weight, height and nervous and muscular
responses of the individual, also determines the development of the
hand. From studying a large number of hands, I have been able to
associate particular types of palmar structure with specific character-
For example, the consistency of the hand tells much about the
individual. A firm, full, elastic palm, warm and alive to the touch,
indicates a person who is active, well-directed, alive. Flabbiness shows
a phlegmatic disposition, to which action comes with an effort. If
the palm is at the same time both flabby and covered with minute
lines, you may be sure that the subject dissipates his energies in
nervous reactions. If the palm is thick, flabby and soft, indolence,
whether physical or mental, is indicated, and the fleshier such a soft
hand, the greater will be the love of ease and luxury.
34 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
When the palm is thin and narrow, you can expect a narrow^
timid individual, lacking mental ability and moral force. A person
with this sort of palm is likely to be shallow and selfish. When the
fingers on a narrow palm are long, tyranny on a small scale re-
stricted to personal relations is indicated. A palm with high emi-
nences shows a warm, responsive nature. A flat surface usually goes
with intellectual interests.
If the palm is in good proportion to the fingers, about the same in
length and width, and if it is even in shape, firm, though not hard, it
shows a well-balanced, receptive mind, control of the emotions, in-
telligent use of the talents. When the palm is overdeveloped in rela-
tion to the fingers, I have usually found the individual over-confident
and egocentric. If the palm's development is especially heavy at the
base, near the wrist, sensuality is indicated. A hand which is particu-
larly heavy at the wrist and at the same time hard in consistency
shows brutality unless a strong but sensitive thumb or an exception-
ally good headline (see plate 27) negatives this indication.
THE HOLLOW PALM
A hollow palm shows lack of aggressiveness and perseverance. It is
frequently associated with misfortune. Undoubtedly, the lack of these
qualities is the cause of much ill luck and for that reason poor de-
velopment in the center of the hand must be regarded as an ill
omen, no matter how favorable the rest of the hand may be.
The depression in the center of the hand often lies in the direction
of a particular line or section of the palm, and then it specifically
relates to the faculties associated with the line, mount, or sign toward
which the hollow inclines. When the hollow falls under the line of
life, I have sometimes found it to be an indication of domestic
troubles; when under the line of destiny, it is associated with dis-
appointment in connection with one's career.
LARGE AND SMALL HANDS
The size of the hand as a whole is of extreme importance. The
legend that large hands are capable, I have found from experience
to be little more than a superstition. Usually, a large hand, particu-
larly if long-fingered, will be methodical and inclined towards detail
work. But the hands which go with the conception of large projects,
with the formulation of breath-taking plans, with discovery, daring
and forceful execution, are comparatively small. Large hands need
direction from others. Small hands supply the direction.
LEFT AND RIGHT HAND
Since most changes in the hand resulting from growth of the per-
sonality and adjustment to circumstances manifest themselves in
the palm, I am going to discuss the significance of the left and right
hands in conjunction with the palm, rather than in connection with
the hand as a whole.
The right hand is the one to study in a right-handed person. That
hand gives us a picture of the human being as he is. The left hand
tells us what he might have been whether for better or worse. What
the left hand pictures is a person's inheritance, the weaknesses, the
strength, the talents and the lacks with which he was born. From
the left hand we are able to judge a person's potentialities. From the
right what he has created out of his potentialities. In a left-handed
person, the significance of the two hands is of course reversed.
This sort of knowledge is a weapon, and with knowledge of our
weaknesses we may be able to overcome them. Here is one very great
value in the message of the left hand. By pointing out the pitfalls
into which we are likely to fall, it helps us to avoid them.
In the right hand we see how far we have developed or dissipated
our inherent endowments. Frequently you will find the two hands
very different from each other. Sometimes, especially in hands with
weak thumbs, you will see all the vices and pitfalls, the illnesses, the
lacks hinted at in the hand of inheritance confirmed and magnified
in the hand of actuality. In persons of strong will you find the oppo-
site a tendency to flightiness bolstered by purpose, wayward emo-
tions held in check by reason.
It is therefore important, in studying the hands, to compare the
general contours of the palms, the left with the right. Examine each
of the mounts to see whether they differ in prominence in the two
36 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
hands. Look with special care at the principal lines of the hands. Of
all the hand's markings, the lines are the most sensitive to changes
taking place in a person. As you grow or shrink in mental stature,
your line of head will reflect the change. It will also register your
mental health. I have seen hands in which a naturally vivid imagina-
tion was allowed to atrophy until the right hand showed not a trace
of this gift but, instead, had a level, extremely matter-of-fact line of
head. The left hand, at the same time, retained a low-dipping line of
head which testified to the original bent.
The same applies to the line of heart. In persons who have had to
repress affectionate responsiveness, I have often found the line of
heart in the right hand growing faint and narrow, sometimes diverted
out of its original course to show the influence of self-seeking instead
The line of destiny may, in the left hand, be almost destroyed by
obstacles. But in the right hand it may be remade, showing the con-
quest of difficulties by a strong person. Unfortunately, the reverse is
just as often true. Failure to make use of natural gifts, wasted energy,
misdirected ambitions leave their imprint in a broken or abruptly
ended line of destiny.
In any case, the message of the operative hand is never a static
one. Comparison of the two hands tells us where we have gone astray
from the path which would have been best for us, and it is thus pos-
sible to correct our mistake.
Of course, in a lefthanded person, the readings have to be reversed.
Just what the cause of lefthandedness or ambidexterity is we do not
know. It is, however, a recognized fact that the tendency to use one
hand rather than the other is closely associated with the balance of
the central nervous system. Changing the balance by forcing a nat-
urally lefthanded person to use his right is likely to have disastrous
results. Many speech defects are laid to interference with the natural
dominance of one hand or the other.
In children especially, nervous maladjustment, extreme shyness
and slow perception result from trying to make them use the right
hand when the left is the naturally operative. Formerly schools and
parents tried to make left-handed youngsters learn penmanship and
other manual arts with the right hand. Nowadays advanced educa-
MOUNTS OF THE HAND 37
tors have learned that difficult behavior problems, secretiveness, lying,
even stealing, result from such interference with nature's intentions.
Parents and teachers should be especially careful about trying to
icadjust a child's natural preference for one hand or the other.
Chapter V. THE MOUNTS OF THE HAND AND
WHEN you look at the inner face of the palm, you do not see a flat
surface, like a table top, but instead you find many small and large
muscular swellings. If you study their formation carefully you will
notice that there is such a pad under each finger and that there are
others toward the wrist and in the center of the palm.
These swellings are known as the mounts of the hand. The mounts
under the fingers take their names from the individual fingers and in
general share the qualities ascribed to their corresponding finger:
thus, mount Jupiter lies under the index finger ; mount Saturn under
the second finger; mount Apollo under the ring finger; and Mount
Mercury under the finger of Mercury. The two mounts of Mars,
known as Mars positive and Mars negative, are located under the
mounts of Jupiter and Mercury, respectively. The large mounts at
the base of the palm are Luna on the outer edge and Venus forming
the base of the thumb. Plate 25 shows the positions of the mounts of
The mount of Jupiter, underneath the first finger, indicates pride
and ambition, the desire to dominate others. When mount Jupiter is
well developed and the finger of Jupiter is dominant, you will find
pride swollen into vanity and bluster.
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
The Jupiterian one in whom the finger of Jupiter is dominant
and the mount highly developed is frequently religious and derives
great comfort from the pageantry and show of church worship. You
will often find high dignitaries of the church among the children of
Of course, the qualities of leadership which go with a strong finger
of Jupiter can also find their expression in other fields. For example,
given long spatulate- tipped fingers and a domineering thumb, your
Jupiterian might well be a military conqueror, his qualities being
orderliness and rigidity, ambition, energy and daring, and a desire to
MOUNTS OF THE HAND 39
The mount of Saturn under the second finger signifies seriousness,
thought, and prudence, especially in money matters. I have rarely
seen very strong development of this mount together with a strong
finger of Saturn. In fact, the mount is sometimes depressed when the
finger shows strength. However, even when the mount is not very
prominent, a person may still be classified as a Saturnian if the sec-
ond finger is dominant.
When the Saturn finger has slender, waisted phalanxes, the
thoughtful mind is accentuated. Credulity will be reduced to a mini-
mum, and you have a critical, skeptical, analytical brain. The
Saturnian distrusts others until he has satisfied himself of their mo-
tives. Consequently, he is usually an individualist, undertaking busi-
ness enterprises by himself and disliking unnecessary social contacts.
This is fortunate for the others as much as for himself, because the
Saturnian is dour and pessimistic, a wet blanket on the exuberance
of those who have a different temperament.
The thrift which characterizes the Saturnian is exaggerated into
meanness and miserliness if the lowest (material) phalanx is strong-
est. And if the heart line is unstable and the tip of a dominant Saturn
finger unusually sensitive, you have a morbid cast to the thoughts
with a tendency toward self-criticism and despondency.
The mount of Apollo, like the mount of Jupiter, shows ambition,
but it is a more highly specialized ambition for renown and admira-
tion. This finger and mount have almost the exact opposite connota-
tion from that of Saturn. The Apollonian looks for success and self-
realization through other people. He is gay, sociable, worldly, emo-
tional. He is a lover of beauty, though not a creator of it.
When the third finger is excessively long and the mount well de-
veloped, impulsiveness is exaggerated to the point of rashness, and
the owner of such a hand is likely to be fascinated by gambling. A
40 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
long space between the base of the thumb and of the first finger
emphasizes this tendency still further.
The Apollonian may be an excellent business man. For confirma-
tion, look to a long middle phalanx on the Apollo finger, and a good
line of head. Likely as not, this type of Apollonian will display his
love of drama, beauty and color in some way through his business
The bad qualities of the mount and finger of Apollo predominate
if the finger is crooked, or if the mount or base phalanx is excessively
developed in comparison with the other two. Then the subject will be
vain, boastful, reckless, and perhaps sexually vicious or dissolute.
But, on the whole, the mount of Apollo introduces optimism and
gaiety into life, acting an an antidote to the heaviness of Saturn.
Quickness is the quality most associated with the mount of Mer-
cury under the fourth finger. The Mercurian has a keen, almost
intuitive mind, especially if the Apollo mount is at the same time
fairly well developed. He is exceedingly shrewd, and, if he has a bad
hand, or if the finger itself is twisted or shows only worldly tenden-
cies, his active brain is likely to hatch cunning schemes for the
exploitation of his fellows. The Mercurian is never a brutally vicious
type, but rather a gyp artist or con man, shyster lawyer or promoter
of fraudulent enterprises. If all the fingers are crooked with a highly
developed mount of Mercury, you have definite indication of a crim-
inal type of mind.
Unlike the Saturnian, whose analytical mind finds difficulty in ex-
pressing itself, the Mercurian is gifted with an easy flow of words. He
makes an excellent trial lawyer, a brilliant advocate, though more
likely moved to speak by ambition than by devotion to the cause he
The Mount of Luna, at the base of the palm on its outer side,
governs the imagination and intuition. Good development of this
MOUNTS OF THE HAND
mount plus directed energy are necessary to transform the Apol-
lonian, with his appreciation of art, into the creator. And, with a
well developed finger and mount of Mercury, a prominent mount
of Luna gives promise of creative ability to writers of fiction and
The kind of fingertips and thumb combined with a well-developed
mount of Luna are extremely important, for, with a weak, over-
sensitive hand, the imagination is wasted in dreaming. When practi-
cality is lacking, the mount of Luna may lead to activity, but of
a fantastic nature, such as the designing of machines of perpetual
motion, to choose an extreme example.
To judge whether mount Luna is well developed, examine its
bulge both along the side of the hand and upward from the surface of
the palm. A well-rounded curve on the outer edge of the hand indi-
cates good development. If the mount is both outcurving and high,
the mount of Luna can be classed as very strong. (See plate 26.)
Vertical lines on this mount add to its strength. Crosswise mark-
ings weaken it, or indicate defects such a morbid trend to the imag-
Mount Luna should always be studied in connection with the line
of head, for any inclination of the headline downwards, towards
the mount of Luna, shows the influence of imagination in the think-
ing. In addition, signs of mental disturbances found on the line of
42 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
head are often repeated or explained by the mount of Luna. Where
the development of Luna is excessive, you can expect mental or emo-
tional unbalance, or both.
The mount of Venus is at the base of the thumb bounded by the
arc of the life line. This mount indicates both the vitality and gen-
eral health of the subject and the nature of his affections. When you
have a well-developed, prominent swelling on the mount of Venus,
you may be sure of a generous, warm-hearted, lively personality with
strong amorous instincts. Attractiveness for the opposite sex almost
always goes with a well-developed mount of Venus, and health,
optimistic spirits, gaiety and love of music are other attributes which
belong to this type.
If the mount of Venus is overdeveloped, particularly at its base
close to the wrist, the animal instincts and passions predominate.
Their expression, however, is a natural one, and neither vicious nor
THE THREE MOUNTS OF MARS
The mount of Mars is the most difficult of all to study, for it is
made up of three sections: Mars positive under Jupiter, above the
mount of Venus; Mars negative under Mercury, above the mount
of Luna; and the plain of Mars in the center of the palm (see plate
25). Each of these divisions has its own significance, though the
characteristics of Mars as a whole are courage and aggressiveness.
Mars positive, near the thumb, is the most pugnacious, spirited
section. Its bravery is the courage of the soldier and adventurer,
which is largely physical. Mars negative, horizontally on a level
with the positive Mars, but on the opposite side of the palm, is the
courage of resistance. It may find expression physically, or through
great moral stamina. A person with both these mounts well devel-
oped will push himself over all obstacles and never give in to defeat.
A prominent development of the plain of Mars emphasizes the
traits of both Mars negative and positive. In addition, especially
LINES OF THE PALM 43
when the plain is crossed by many horizontal lines, it indicates vio-
lent temper. The combination becomes dangerous when there is very
high development of all three portions, as temper is then immediately
translated into physical violence. A strong thumb and line of head
are needed to curb the impetuosity of this combination.
The triple mount of Mars has greater importance than merely to
indicate courage or the lack of it, for when Mars in all its aspects
is deficient, the subject is extremely weak, defeated in life even
before he begins. If the morbid tendencies of Saturn are highly
developed, and you find signs of an introspective imagination to-
gether with a failure in Mars, then you have a typical would-be sui-
Apart from their significance in themselves, the mounts of the
hand are important in relation to the lines of the palm. Deflections
of the line of head or heart, for example, toward any one of the
mounts, show the influence of that mount over the faculty with
which the line is associated. For that reason, it is extremely impor-
tant that a serious student of the hands be acquainted with th^
attributes allied to the mounts.
Chapter VI. THE LINES OF THE PALM
IN the superstitious, fortune-telling uses of palmistry, the lines of
the hand are regarded as a sort of key to the future, the various di-
rections and signs being given somewhat arbitrary significance. This
point of view I have entirely discarded. I have found no basis at all
in my studies of thousands of hands for the declaration that given
signs definitely foretell events in the lives of men and women.
What I have found is that the human hand, connected to the brain
by thousands of sensory and motor nerves, registers on its surface a
kind of summary of all the messages which pass through the brain.
Thus, the hand gives us an index to the personality.
There is another notion I wish to dispel. The amateur in chirology
44 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
is usually of the impression that activity makes for many minute
lines. This is incorrect. Undirected and wasted nervous energy cause
those myriad purposeless little lines which weave over the surface of
some hands. The man or woman whose activity is purposeful and
useful usually has a few, well-defined markings telling the entire
story. But the marked absence of lines is indication, not of concen-
tration in activity, but of a phlegmatic temperament on which
events make little impression.
Let it be perfectly clear that I claim no powers of prophetic hand
analysis, and also that I do not believe such powers exist. It is true
that I have on occasion made predictions about certain persons
which have, with amazing accuracy, been realized. My explanation
of this phenomenon is that, given complete understanding of all the
factors in a situation, one can foresee a probability which is tanta-
mount to almost certain prediction. Of course, in considering only
the factors of a personality we do not allow for the action of outside
circumstances which do not show in the hand until after they have
made an impact on the personality. But we can judge with great
accuracy what that impact will be on a person whom we completely
When, therefore, I speak of danger of one kind or another threat-
ening a person, I mean danger to which the weakness of that par-
ticular individual leaves him open. Such a danger may even be
evaded through the use of more complete understanding gained from
the study of the hand.
One of the most striking evidences supporting the claims of
chirology to some share in the name of science is the fact that
hands do change. No line or sign is at any time immutable. As the
person to whom the hand belongs undergoes certain experiences, or
changes his attitude, his ambitions, his thoughts; so do his hands
register those changes.
Now, as to the lines themselves. They should be well-marked
and pinkish in color. A reddish line indicates an active, energetic
and sanguinary disposition. Pale lines go with delicate health and
LINES OF THE PALM
1. The line of life
2. The line of head
3. The line of heart
4. The line of destiny
5. The line of Apollo
6. The lines of sex
7. The lines of health or
8. The lines of intuition
9. The girdle of Venus
10. The line of vitality
11. The bracelets
12. The lines of travel
13. The lines of fertility
14. The via Lascivia
15. The ring of Solomon
16. The ring of Saturn
46 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
lack of energy. Lines which are very dark show a melancholy,
brooding temperament, vengeful and unforgiving.
The principal lines of the hand are shown in plate 27. They are
seven in number: first, the line of life which bounds the mounts of
Venus and Mars positive (see number 1 on plate 27); second, the
line of head (number 2) which begins on the inner side of the palm
and runs across it; third, the line of heart or emotions, pursuing a
path across the hand above that taken by the line of head; fourth,
the line of fate or destiny, which ascends the palm of the hand from
the wrist towards the finger of Saturn; fifth, the line of sun or bril-
liance, which follows a path roughly parallel to that taken by the
line of destiny, directing itself towards the base of the Apollo
finger; sixth, the lines of marriage or sexual influence, which are
short, horizontal lines on the outer edge of the palm under the
little finger; and last, the line of health or Hepatica, which runs up
the hand at an angle, ascending from the line of life toward the
mount of Mercury. In addition, there are a number of minor lines in
All the lines are not always present in every hand, and their ab-
sence is frequently of even greater significance than is their presence.
The continuity of line is of great significance. Breaks (see plate
28 for examples of the formations cited in this and the following
paragraph) in any line mean an obstruction, sometimes overcome,
if they are healed by squares or supported by other strengthening
influences. Unevenness in the line shows just that in the attribute
variability. Fine lines are often seen branching out from the main
lines and usually show a weakening of the main pathway, indicating
uncertainty. Such small branches are known as splits. If a split is
directed towards a particular mount, it means that the subject is in-
fluenced by the attributes of that particular mount. The branching
line often throws an interesting light on the main tendencies, telling
about anything from a moment's diversion to a serious change in
the direction of one's life.
Sister lines, that is lines running independently but parallel to a
LINES OF THE PALM 47
main line, add strength. But a sister line should not be confused
with the island, which may run parallel to a main line for some dis-
tance, but is attached to it at either end, thus forming a sort of en-
closure. An island very much weakens the main line at the point
where it makes its appearance. Chained formations, dots, many
crossed lines all react adversely on the primary line, and I shall
discuss them in relation to the particular lines wherever they have
The best lines are clear, deep, without breaks or interfering mark-
ings of any kind. Very broad lines show more muscular strength than
will power; while a deep, thin line holds up better under strain.
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
TIME AND AGE IN THE HAND
Using the main lines of the hand as guidemarks, we are able to
compute time and age on the hand. Thus the approximate date asso-
ciated with breaks, periods of restlessness and dissatisfaction, shifts
LINE OF LIFE 49
in occupation, can all be calculated from the hand. The only date
which does not show is that which gives the subject's age.
The method of approximating dates in the hand is simple. Divide
the maximum length possible for the line of life, the headline, the
heartline and the line of destiny each into periods of seven as shown
in plate 29. This is a very natural division since important physical
changes in human beings are supposed to occur within cycles of
seven years. Other markings on the hand can be related to this
scheme by drawing radial lines from mount Venus through the seven
divisions on the line of life and extending those imaginary radial
lines to whatever event you wish to place in time. This, too, is shown
in plate 29. To estimate the probable length of life, add the number
of periods in these four principal lines of the hand the lines of
head, heart, destiny and life and divide your total by four.
Of course, markings which are fixed in their place will have their
own time scheme pertaining to them alone. For example, the mar-
riage lines are figured within the confines of the space which they
occupy, not in accordance with the plan of the whole hand, but this
is explained in greater detail in my discussion of the marriage lines
Chapter VII. THE LINE OF LIFE
THE line of life (see plate 27, number 1) bounds the mounts of
Venus and Mars positive, fencing in the entire region about the base
of the thumb. Its beginning is under the finger of Jupiter, its end
in most cases under the mount of Venus, at the wrist. This line,
according to the older theories of palmistry, was supposed to indi-
cate longevity and the times when disease or danger threatened.
This I have found to be an extremely literal interpretation of the
lifeline's actual function, which is to give an index of your health.
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
1 have seen hands in which an actual break or even the ending of
the line of life has not been followed by any dire results. Strong
lines of the head and heart and a good thumb often overcome the
indications of weakness in the line of Iife 7 and to conclude that a
person's life is actually in danger at any given period, the hand
analyst must look for confirmation in other parts of the hand. The
clearest sign of departure from this life is the stopping of all the
principal lines at the same date.
If the line of life is made up of little pieces, broken, or linked to-
gether, vitality is weak, often because of poor digestive functioning.
When the line of life commences high under the first finger the
subject will be ambitious and well controlled, directing his energies
to the attainment of his ambitions. A lower origin shows the opposite.
The usual point at which the line of life begins is about halfway be-
tween the thumb and the base of the index finger.
The line of life may also vary in its termination. If it swerves
toward the mount of Luna on the opposite side of the hand (see
plate 30), it indicates a restless nature which may lead to wide travel
and residence and death in a foreign land. The sudden termination
of the line of life, marked by a star or cross, shows the threat
of sudden death or accident, especially if other signs in the hand
bear out this warning.
If the line of life arcs far out into the hand (see plate 31), en-
larging the space occupied by the mount of Venus, you will find a
LINE OF HEAD 51
warm, generous and sympathetic nature; if Venus is constricted
into a narrow space (see plate 32), you are likely to find a cold
and selfish one.
Chapter VIII. THE LINE OF THE HEAD
THE line of head (see plate 27, number 2), showing mental balance,
control, interests, depth, and concentration, is one of the most im-
portant lines of the hand. Its normal position lies in a course across
the palm, about midway between the wrist and the base of the
fingers. This line requires very careful study, for its most minute
variations are of significance. Particularly should the two hands be
compared as to their headlines; for early training, environment,
and the effects of outside circumstances on the mental characteris-
tics of a person often outweigh the influence of heredity. The right
hand, of course, indicates our composite personality, the left, our
natural endowments. If you are lefthanded, the reverse will be the
case, for the left hand is then the operative one.
First, study the quality of the line. The best headline is clear,
reddish in color and deep. With such a line, you can expect the ability
to concentrate, sound judgment, a good memory, and vigorous, keen
thought. A broad, shallow line indicates less precision and sureness,
but, though the mind may be less penetrating, it is not necessarily
less purposeful. It is the chained line (see plate 28) which shows
flightiness and lack of concentration.
Often you will find a line which varies in quality through its
length. In that case, the mental abilities will differ at various periods
of life. Sometimes the cause of such variation will be apparent in
other signs of the hand. The life line may, for example, show a seri-
ous illness at the time the line of head is of inferior quality, or the
line of heart may indicate emotional unbalance for a period.
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
A broken line is always unfortunate. In the headline, a break
shows impairment or interference with thinking and memory.
When there are dots or islands at the termination of a break, the
injury is the more serious. If the break is repaired by a square, or
bridged by a sister line running parallel to the main line and close
by it, the ill effects of whatever is responsible for the break may be
largely discounted. Refer back to plate 28 for examples of these
variations in a line.
The course of the line of head is often altered by small rises or
deflections downwards. For example, it may arch upwards under the
middle finger. In that case, the qualities associated with the mount
of Saturn and the Saturn finger seriousness, thoughtfulness, pru-
dence in money matters are a strong influence on the thought pat-
terns. If the rise in the headline occurs towards the finger of Apollo,
then the artistic sensibilities, lightness and gaiety of Apollo must be
connected with the line's change in direction. As a rule, small dips
in the line of head are considered signs of depression, rising arches,
signs of good spirits or of an uplifting influence.
The most usual place of origin for the line of head coincides with
the beginning of the line of life (see plate 33), the two lines being
joined together for a short distance. This indicates caution, timidity
and dependence on others at the beginning of life. The earlier the
two lines separate, the sooner will self-reliance be manifested.
When the line of head begins inside the line of life (see plate 34),
the negative qualities associated with the first position are very much
exaggerated. In a person with this formation, you find very little
LINE OF HEAD 53
self-confidence. You will find nervous apprehensions inflated into
phobias. You will see a person who is supersensitive, always looking
for slights, lacking control. A person with a headline beginning in
this position is very often a solitary individual, not necessarily by
inclination, but because he is too timid to dare the criticism of his
fellows and the give and take which social contacts entail.
A line of head beginning about midway between the origin of the
line of life and the base of the first finger (see plate 35) is a strong
indication of well-balanced, independent headwork. Such a line shows
self-confidence without conceit, an energetic, daring mind, not bound
to pathways followed by conventional thinkers. With such a head-
line, there is usually strong ambition and the mental clarity needed
to realize that ambition. Of course, the quality of the line itself will
modify the indications of its position, but, on the whole, a headline
with this origin is strong augury of success.
When the space between the line of life and the headline is wid-
ened, and the latter begins high up on the side of the hand near the
base of the first finger (see plate 36), the quality of self-reliance is
turned to recklessness. A person with his headline beginning so close
to the finger of Jupiter is too conceited to listen to the counsel of
others, too impatient to base his actions on careful judgment. He is a
gambler, thoughtless of consequences, careless of his actions' effect
on others. When this high headline is short, a jealous temperament
is also shown.
Usually the line of head commences at the edge of the hand. One
exception to this position is found in the line which leaves a slight
margin at the side and commences under the finger of Jupiter (see
plate 37). Strong ambition will motivate the thinking of a person
with this kind of headline. Usually a headline having this origin is
good in quality, and there is every probability of fulfilling the ambi-
tion unless a weak thumb and generally forceless hand gainsay its
The course followed by the line of head and its termination must
be read in conjunction with the origin. A straight, even path (see
plate 33) denotes good mental balance, excellent control, and a mind
which is neither too taken up with fantasy nor too restricted by
small, practical considerations. A straight course will do much to
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
counteract the weakness implied by an origin coinciding with the
line of life and will to some extent reduce the timidity and oversen-
sitiveness of a headline which begins inside the space enclosed by
the line of life. With a headline which starts outside the line of life,
a straight, even course is a brilliant indication. Its balance will even
somewhat counteract the recklessness of a line starting too high on
When the line of head points in a downward direction or ends in
a sharp curve towards the mount of Luna (see plates 34 and 35), the
faculties of imagination and fantasy, represented by that mount,
will govern the mind. In a weak hand, one lacking will and force,
LINE OF HEAD 55
one in which the origin of the line of head shows excessive timidity,
this direction is unpromising. It gives us the dreamer, the introspec-
tive builder of castles in the air, the conqueror of non-existent em-
pires. But, when there is sufficient strength to use the gift of creative
imagination, a headline dipping onto Luna is the mark of the artist,
the writer, the discoverer, the man or woman who is not afraid to
venture beyond the realms of known fact. The best combination with
a headline descending onto Luna is one which begins outside the line
of life, but not too high on the side of the hand (see plate 35).
The worst is a headline commencing inside the line of life (see plate
34), for with so little mental balance and self-confidence, there is
always danger that a strongly imaginative person will take refuge
completely in his land of make-believe, becoming the victim of de-
lusions and fancies. A star at the termination of a headline of this
character is even stronger indication of insanity, especially when the
quality of the line is also poor chained or much broken up.
A headline which curves up towards Mercury (see plate 37) shows
a practical mind, taken up with the problems of business and ma-
terial existence. On a narrow hand this line will indicate an exces-
sively humdrum man of affairs, concerned with nothing but material
success, very positive and bigoted in his opinions. On a broad, active
hand, it still does not show great liberality of mind, but at least it
does not reveal a narrow-minded fanatic. It will indicate a person
who looks at material things in a broader perspective, though one
who is impatient of things which are not of immediate utility.
When there is a sort of double curve in the line of head, first down
and then up, like the letter "S" (see plate 38), you have a person
with complete coordination of the mental and muscular processes, in
other words, an athlete. I found this double curve in the headlines of
persons as diverse in their general makeup as William Tilden, Babe
Ruth, Spencer Tracy, Gene Tunney, Jack Dempsey and Helen Wills
Moody. One thing they all have in common the wonderful control
of their muscular reactions which made them champion athletes.
A forked headline (see plate 39), one ending in two or more
branches, may mean one of two things, depending on the strength
of the hand. In a strong hand, the added branch gives versatility.
For example, a straight headline with a branch descending onto the
56 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
mount of Luna will show the soundly balanced judgment and clear
reasoning power of the straight line plus imagination. In a weak
hand, such a forking results in uncertainty and vacillation.
The general position of the line of head is also of significance.
If the line is very high, thus overshadowing the line of heart, you
have a strongly rational being whose emotions are completely con-
trolled by his mind. When, on the other hand, the line of heart
is placed low, close to the line of head, mental balance will be more
precarious, subject to the vagaries of the emotions.
Chapter IX. THE LINE OF HEART
THE line of heart (see plate 27, number 3), running across the palm
above the line of head, shows emotional steadfastness and intensity.
This line must be read in conjunction with the indications of the
hand as a whole and particularly in relation to the line of head.
The quality of the heartline is of course significant. As with all the
other lines of the hand, its best formation is a clear, deep drawing,
neither too broad nor too narrow, and of good color. A line which is
uniformly of this character, throughout its entire length, will show
strong, consistent affections, loyalty, sympathy and balance.
If the heartline is thin, your subject will be self-centered and cold.
This lack of feeling is likely to be combined with a narrow-minded,
conventional attitude. The line must, however, be thin in relation to
the other lines of the hand to make this interpretation a correct one.
A broad, shallow line of heart discloses affections easily given and
as easily withdrawn inconsistency, changeableness. Fickleness of
a different sort is indicated by a deeply chained line of heart. With
such, there may be great intensity but still no reliability. The person
with a deep, chained line of heart meets this one-and-only love every
LINE OF HEART 57
other day, feels the world reborn and then dying through the course
of each affair, and is immediately off to the next.
Lines cutting across the line of heart tell of worries and obstacles
in the course of true love. In its path across the hand, the line of
heart may give off many small branches or splits. Splits rising from
the heart line towards any one of the mounts show the attraction of
the mount's characteristics over the affections of the subject. For ex-
ample, a person with many little hairlines rising from the line of
heart toward the mount of Apollo will be much attracted by someone
in whom the artistic sensibility and gaiety of the Apollonian pre-
dominate. Lines falling from the line of heart towards the line of
head show conflict between judgment and the emotions, often also
disappointments in love.
Of course, in studying the character of the line of heart, we must
look at it in segments. The line frequently changes its nature a
number of times during its course across the hand. In such case, the
emotional vagaries associated with a particular type of line apply
only to the period of life spanned by that section of the line. A
naturally affectionate person may, because of uncongenial surround-
ings, become extremely self-contained and apparently cold, only to
flower out into sympathetic warmth on receiving understanding.
As with the line of head, the origin of the heartline is of great
significance. The line of heart may start anywhere from the very
edge of the palm to a position more than halfway across the hand.
If it begins far out at the edge (see plate 40), you have an emo-
tional extremist, blindly enthusiastic in love, submerging every other
ambition and desire in his intense emotionalism, losing all reason
and balance. The nature of the line will show whether a person is
given to periodic emotional extravagances or combines constancy with
intensity. In either case, his emotional abandon is likely to bring
grief, for he follows the dictates of his feelings without regard to the
cautionings of his mind.
A line of heart beginning under the finger of Jupiter (see plate 41)
still gives us the idealist in love, one who sentimentalizes both his
affections and the object of them, but this position does allow a
measure of control. With this heartline, constancy is likely to be an
outstanding trait, for its bearer is almost as well satisfied with the
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
shadow of romance as with the actuality and will console himself
with an ideal if the reality fades. A forked beginning on Jupiter in-
creases the sentimentality.
When the line of heart originates betwen the first and second
fingers (see plate 42), we have the realist in love who combines
practicality with his affections. Such a person is likely to be cautious
in his choice of those he loves, but warmly devoted after he has come
to a decision. He will coordinate ambition with love and will be
strongly held by family ties.
A line of heart rising from the mount of Saturn (see plate 43)
indicates the sensualist, a person whose love is more passionate than
sentimental or affectionate. This will be particularly true if the
LINE OF HEART 59
mount of Venus is well developed at its base and pink or red in color.
When the line of heart begins in a three-pronged fork, one branch
under Jupiter, one under Saturn and the middle branch between
the two fingers (see plate 44), it shows a balanced union of idealism,
practicality and passion and usually indicates that the heart is the
dominant factor in the personality. With this forked origin on the
heartline, a strong line of head and a well-developed thumb are
needed to keep the individual from being submerged in his emotions.
The line of heart varies in its termination as well as in its begin-
ning. Should it cross the hand completely, from one side to the
other (see plate 40), the strength of the emotions is increased, giv-
ing us a person who is buffeted and torn by his feelings. Such a per-
son will be jealous and possessive, especially if the plain of Mars
shows excessive development.
A termination of the line of heart directed upwards towards any
of the mounts shows unusually strong influence and attraction from
persons having the attributes of those mounts. A downward bend at
the end of the line of heart gives the affections dominion over rea-
son. When the heart line actually cuts through the line of head
(see plate 43), you may look for serious mental disturbance as a
result of emotional instability.
Sometimes you find only one line in a hand instead of two sep-
arate lines, one governing the head and one the heart. Even when this
line is placed high in the hand, in the normal position for the line of
heart, it must be considered as the line of head, not of heart. I have
encountered this formation only rarely and always in the hands of
men who had an unchangeable intensity of purpose, an overwhelm-
ing, directed ambition. Sir Basil Zaharoff, the munitions king and
merchant of death, had this single combined head-and-heart line,
and so had Andrew Mellon, the American financier.
60 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
Chapter X. THE LINE OF DESTINY
THE line of destiny or Saturn (see plate 27, number 4), tells the
plan of life, and whether that plan will be easily fulfilled or meet
with many obstacles. When the destiny line is deep, clear and with-
out interfering cross markings, you may expect a career pursued with
determination and leading to success. It is true that I have oc-
casionally found hands in which this line was entirely lacking, but
such instances are rare. When there was no line of destiny, I have
found my subject one who has made his own way in life, entirely
unassisted by friends, influence or luck, except as those aids were
brought into play through the man's own ingenuity.
The strength of a happy augury is much diminished if the Saturn
line is very broad, pale and shallow, much more so than the other
markings in the hand. In that case, you may be sure that natural
talents were wasted and energy applied much too haphazardly to
realize the hand's full promise. When the line is very thin and light,
it indicates a lack of forcefulness which interferes with success.
Breaks in the line of destiny show some obstacle in the career
sufficiently strong to interrupt it. If the break is healed over by a
square, or carried by a sister line paralleling the broken line of
destiny , the interruption will be less serious, the obstacle overcome.
Sometimes, the line of destiny takes up an entirely new course after
a break, showing that the interference has directed you into new
endeavors. Whether the change is to your benefit is shown by the
quality of the line, both before and after the break. Should the line
be stronger and clearer when it resumes its course, your new career
will be more promising than the abandoned one.
Frequently, I find the line of destiny cut by either the line of
head or the line of heart, sometimes both, with marked breaks oc-
curring at the crossing. When the interference comes from the line
LINE OF DESTINY
of head, you may be sure that some mistake in judgment has caused
your life's work to be interrupted. If the line of head actually stops
the Saturn line in its ascent (see plate 45), poor judgment has in-
deed seriously blocked your chances of success. Such ill omens are,
however, not permanent unless you allow yourself to be discouraged
by them. I have observed fate lines, thus stopped, begin a new
growth as courage returned and the person tried to build another
career. Sometimes, the new line is of much better quality than the
one which ended so ominously.
Interference with the line of Saturn from the line of heart shows
emotional unbalance to be the cause of an upset. Here again, as in
the case of hindrance from the line of head, the seriousness of the
break must be judged both from the indications of healing which
are present, such as a square or a parallel line, as well as from the
course and strength of the line of Saturn after the break.
The space between the lines of head and heart is frequently the
least promising portion of the line of destiny. This period corre-
sponds with the ages from about 30 to 45 years, often the most
active of one's life. Whether or not you are able to overcome the
vicissitudes and demands of this time of life is shown by the ter-
minal of the Saturn line. If it resumes its course stronger than
ever after having passed the line of heart, the middle years will
serve to enrich your life and make success taste the sweeter. If the
line of Saturn becomes wavery, thin and broken at its end, then the
difficulties of this period will have proved too much. Again, how-
ever, I want to remind you that the black and white differences
which the old superstition of palmistry assigned to such marks can-
62 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
not be accepted blindly. I have found hands which indicated ex-
treme misfortune completely changed as their owners understood
their difficulties and overcame them.
All lines cutting across the line of Saturn weaken it, and their
place of origin will usually explain their nature. Lines rising from the
mount of Luna indicate that impractical, fantastic imagination is
proving an obstacle; lines from the mount of Venus, that sloth and
love of good living are interfering with a successful career.
With one exception, the line of Saturn always ends on the mount
of Saturn unless it is stopped before reaching that point. The ex-
ception is a turn towards the mount of Jupiter, and its significance
is that success will be due to ambition. The terminal on Saturn is a
good one, showing logical fulfillment of the talents contained in the
Lines running into the line of Saturn strengthen it, revealing the
source of the strength they bring by their origin and direction.
Though the line of Saturn does not vary much in its termination,
it may begin from a number of places. Its most usual origin is from
the center of the palm near the wrist. This origin is the normal
one, showing that a person has taken his direction fairly early in
life. When the line of destiny begins from the line of life (see plate
46), a person's own efforts are largely responsible for whatever suc-
cess he attains, and the higher on the line of life the beginning of the
Saturn line, the later will success be achieved.
The opposite is shown by a line of destiny originating on the
mount of Luna (see plate 47). This shows the aid and influence of
friends, relatives and family connections. If the line of destiny, be-
ginning on the mount of Luna, later merges into the line of heart
(see plate 47), this aid is likely due to a brilliant and most fortunate
marriage, combining an ideal relationship with wealth and ease.
A line of destiny beginning at the wrist and making its way
straight and unbroken to the base of mount Saturn, without branches
or influences of any kind along its entire length, marks a person out
as a plaything of fate, tossed about by forces more powerful than
he. With a star at both the origin and termination of a fate line of
this character, you can also expect some awful, twisted kind of fame
LINE OF APOLLO 63
Chapter XL THE LINE OF APOLLO
THOUGH the line of Apollo (see plate 27, number 5) is accounted
one of the major lines of the hand, it is not present in every hand,
nor even in the majority. Yet, without it, the hand is a poor thing,
promising hardship and struggle without assurance of success. The
line of Apollo, which runs from the wrist towards the base of the
third finger, is the line of luck or fortune. In many hands, this line
is missing until quite late in life. After it puts in its appearance,
the entire life becomes changed, assuming a more optimistic, easy
Both the length of this line and its quality determine to what
extent its force is operative. Defects in its structure greatly reduce
its influence. Islands, for example, practically nullify its effect for
the period represented by the malformation. Dots, to the extent that
any sign can be so definitely associated with a single meaning, I
have found connected with loss of reputation and notoriety. Breaks
in the line show difficulties or interruptions to good fortune; cross
bars, contrary influences.
As to the line itself, the longer it is, the longer will good fortune
last. Sometimes the line of Apollo acts as a sister line for that of
Saturn, becoming stronger when the latter dims and itself fading
when the line of Saturn gains strength.
The line of Apollo always runs in the direction of the Apollo
finger, though it may stop short of that goal. A firm line, clean and
deep at its termination means success crowning the termination of
your life. If the line loses strength or ends before reaching the mount
of Apollo, the end of life will contain some disappointments, not
64 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
necessarily reverses in business, loss of fortune or a bad outcome to
your career, but possibly disappointments connected with your fam-
ily, children, or others on whom your own happiness depends. Fading
of the Apollo line towards its end may also show a change of dispo-
sition to a more sombre hue, such as is characteristic of certain
illnesses which afflict old age.
If there is a sign at the end of the line, this must be considered
in conjunction with the line. A dot, as in other portions of the line,
shows loss of reputation. A deep bar cutting off the line indicates
an insurmountable obstacle near the close of the life. Should the
life line exhibit weakness at the age of about fifty, then such a bar is
likely to be an illness or delicate health. A cross marking the termi-
nation of the line of Apollo is often a sign of foolhardiness causing
ill repute, and the line of head should be looked at carefully to see
whether it bears out this indication of poor judgment. An island at
the end of the Apollo line negatives much of the line's efficacy, tell-
ing that life is likely to close under some sort of shadow, usually as-
sociated with loss of wealth and reputation.
These are the unfortunate signs on the line of Apollo. The more
desirable ones are a square, a trident (see plate 48) and, above all,
a star. With a star at the termination of the Apollo line, you have
strong assurance of brilliant success. I have found this sign in the
hands of financiers, writers, artists and statesmen, and in every case,
these persons have felt themselves blessed by some kind of lucky
fortune, something for which they themselves could not account,
but which seemed to direct all their undertakings to fortunate con-
clusions. The square is, as always, a healing mark, operating against
all the defects of the line throughout its entire length.
A forked ending is not altogether favorable. It shows a diversity
of talents which may, if concentration and determination are lack-
ing, lead to dissipation of your endowments. But when the fork
assumes the shape of a well-marked trident, this is almost as for-
tunate as a star because it indicates wealth and celebrity achieved
through mental efforts. The star is less specific in its promise, but
is frequently associated in some way with the arts or the theater.
The Apollo line may, near its end, branch off to mount Saturn or
Mercury. In such case, add the wisdom of Saturn or the shrewdness
LINE OF APOLLO
66 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
and business judgment of Mercury to the brilliance of Apollo. Other
branches from the line can be regarded much in the same light.
When they take a rising direction, they are favorable, and their
specific application can be deduced from the direction in which they
point. Falling branches and hairlines show the need for greater con-
centration and effort to enjoy the full benefit of a good Apollo line.
Now as to the nature of the line itself. Of course, a sharp, deep,
clearcut line with good color is best. A broad, shallow line gives a
rather surface appreciation of the arts and some success in connec-
tion with them, but it also carries the implication of great show and
a false front. A chained line, especially when it is shallow, gives
the hollow semblance of success and reputation one who talks much
about his attainments but fools no one but himself. A wavy line tells
of vacillation, a career which suffers because of erratic waverings
The origin of the Apollo line modifies its significance to a slight
degree. When it rises from the mount of Luna (see plate 49), it will
show strong imagination joined to good powers of expression. Such a
line is a great boon for writers, lecturers and speakers of all kinds.
When the line of Apollo starts from the wrist and runs all the way to
the Apollo mount, it has its greatest length and will throw its fortu-
nate influence over the entire life. If the line starts low, but runs only
for a short distance, unusual talents and opportunities of early life
will be frittered away.
The line of Apollo beginning from the line of life (see plate 50),
is usually associated with success in artistic work, the higher its point
of origin on the lifeline, the later will the career bear fruit. Starting
from the line of destiny (see plate 51), the Apollo line places a crown
of good fortune on a person's own efforts. A beginning from the line
of head adds luck to brain work, and a start from the line of heart
indicates very happy sex relations such as a marriage which will con-
tribute to happiness, wealth and reputation. Usually, this last indica-
tion applies to the latter part of life.
To some extent, the influences of the lines of Apollo and Saturn
are overlapping. They can, however, be distinguished in this way.
The Saturn line refers more to the active career. The Apollo line gov-
erns the chance and luck attending that career. Apollo applies par-
LINES OF SEX INFLUENCE 67
ticularly to the outward semblances of success wealth and reputa-
As to the way in which this line makes its influence apparent, that
I have not been able to explain to my entire satisfaction. Many other
signs in the hand which had previously been assigned a superstitious
rather than a psychological or physiological significance, I have been
able to consider in a more scientific light. At first, I was inclined to
discount the influence of the Apollo line entirely, but actual study
of many thousands of hands taught me that persons who lacked this
line were practically always beset by difficulties, no matter how
favorable the other indications in their hands. On the other hand,
those who possessed this sign of fortune seemed favored by luck,
chance call it what you will. Whether there is some mysterious
element in the chemistry of personality which determines probabili-
ties of fortune with mathematical precision, I would not dare say.
But even this indication will some day, I venture to guess, be fully/
explained in terms which allow no doubt.
Chapter XII. THE LINES OF SEX INFLUENCE
ON the outer edge of the hand, extending into the palm under the
little finger, there are often a number of horizontal lines. These are
the lines of sex influence (see plate 27, number 6), or, as the older
followers of palmistry termed them, the lines of marriage. They do
not, of course, show the number of times you have married or will
marry. What they do show is the number, depth and constancy of the
sexual attractions which your personality complex makes possible
for you. Some of these relations may be realized, possibly in friend-
ship with the opposite sex in which attraction plays a large part,
possibly in marriage, whether actually legalized or not. For, of course,
68 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
a deeply felt and stable sexual relation will show on the hand regard-
less of the seal of civil and spiritual authority.
When the marriage lines I shall use the older term because of its
greater facility are close to the line of heart (see the lowest of the
three short lines in plate 52), they apply to youth. In the middle of
the space between the line of heart and the base of the finger of
Mercury, marriage lines are placed at the ages of about twenty-five
and thirty. The closer to the finger of Mercury they appear (see the
uppermost of the three short lines in plate 52), the greater the age
to which they refer.
A marriage line which turns up toward the finger of Mercury (see
plate 53) is usually found without companion lines and shows a per-
LINES OF SEX INFLUENCE 69
son who is "not the marrying kind." A look at the line of heart will
often disclose the reason whether it be fickleness as indicated by
a broad, chained line of heart or the bleak, self-centered disposition
which goes with a thin, bare line of heart.
A fork at the end of the marriage line, especially one curving down
into the hand (see plate 54), indicates the probability of separation
or divorce, and a downward curve alone has the same significance.
The longer and clearer the line of sex influence, the more stable
and deep will be the relationship. One of the strongest indications of
a happy marriage is an influence line from the mount of Luna into
the line of destiny, combined with a single, long and clearly marked
line of marriage. A wealthy marriage is sometimes thought to be
shown by a marriage line merging into the line of Apollo.
If the line of marriage is broken up or linked like a chain, the re-
lationship will be very unhappy. The cause of such unhappiness
physiological differences, diversity in interests or in temperament
might be discovered by a comparison of the hands of two people
contemplating a union.
LINES OF FERTILITY
The small, vertical lines which stand up between the lines of mar-
riage on the side of the hand (see plate 27, number 13) indicate fer-
tility the number of children you can have, not at all necessarily
the number you will have. Usually, they are much more clearly
marked in the hands of women than of men. Broad and deep lines
are taken by the lore of palmistry to indicate male children; narrow,
fine lines, females. Very faint and uneven lines show delicacy in
the offspring. Straight, deep, clear ones indicate strong and healthy
children. When one line of a group is markedly longer and stronger
than the others, it shows the superiority of one of the children over
his brothers and sisters.
A very flat mount of Venus and a bracelet which rises from the
wrist into the palm of the hand is usually considered a sign of
70 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
Chapter XIII. THE LINE OF HEALTH OR HEPATICA
THE line of health or Hepatica (see plate 27, number 7), which
runs down the hand in a diagonal direction, normally from the mount
of Mercury toward the line of life, is classed among the major lines.
It is, however, often absent altogether or only very faintly or frag-
mentarily present. Its total absence is the best indication of all, for
this shows an extremely robust, resistant and energetic constitution.
Next to complete absence, a straight line, extending down the
outer side of the palm from Mercury through the mount of Luna is
a good second-best. Though this position does not indicate the com-
plete escape from ills which absence shows, it still manifests great
resistance to whatever ailments are contracted.
The point at which the line of health actually encounters the line
of life, when the former takes its normal position in diagonal line, is
one at which the health and life are seriously menaced. If the line of
life is weak at this point, and if there is corroborating evidence in the
lines of heart and head, this point can almost certainly be taken as
the end of life.
Chapter XIV. THE MINOR LINES OF THE HAND
IN addition to the major lines, which are present in almost every
hand, there are a number of minor groovings which your hand may
or may not show. Some of these give valuable assistance to the talents
MINOR LINES OF THE HAND 71
and characteristics revealed by the rest of your hand. Others are less
THE LINE OF INTUITION
The line of intuition (see plate 27, number 8) is a mixed blessing.
Its position is along the outer edge of the palm, running vertically
from the Lunar mount to the mount of Mercury. Its shape is an arc,
approaching the semi-circle, arching out into the palm.
The line of intuition, as its name indicates, gives its possessor
acute, intuitive understanding. It marks out a sort of sixth sense by
which things not perceived through the ordinary sensory faculties
and not reasoned by the mind are seemingly arrived at by instinct.
A deep, clear, unbroken line having a good arc will give the most
reliable intuitive sensitiveness. A broken or otherwise defective line
has little effectiveness, or it may show a false intuition. An island on
the line likewise indicates intuitions either misapplied or only par-
A branch line running from a deep, clear line of intuition to the
Jupiter mount shows the realization of this mysterious faculty and its
application to aid ambition. A rising line to the mount of Apollo
shows a measure of renown coming from the use of this strange gift.
Conflict is told by a line from this mark which cuts through the line
of destiny. This indicates that the intuitive faculties will seriously
prejudice the career. When the connecting line from the arc of in-
tuition actually merges into the line of destiny, instinct will prove
an aid to the career.
At times this line of intuition may be very broken up and confused
with a defective line of health. In that case, the exercise of the in-
tuitive faculties is a danger to health. For corroboration, look at the
line of head. If it, too, shows weakness, there is danger that the
attraction of mysticism will unbalance the mind.
Persons who possess this sixth sense are often unaware of it them-
selves. In any case, they are unable to explain it. To what extent it
is connected with suggestibility and the manifestations of hypnosis,
I do not know. Perhaps the faculty is a natural one which we have
lost, corresponding to the racial memory and instincts of animals.
72 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
Perhaps it is a new sensory endowment which mankind is just in
process of developing. That is the theory adopted by such scientists
as Sir Oliver Lodge, who believe that some day all human beings will
be able to receive impressions which are in no sense mysterious but
merely too delicate to be registered by the fingers, eyes, ears and
nose. If there do exist waves or particles which, functioning outside
ordinary time, would tell us of the past or future, we may some day
learn of them, just as we have found light waves which the eye does
not register but which make their impression on sensitive instru-
THE VIA LASCIVIA
The via lascivia (see plate 27, number 14) is a rare marking. It is
a convex arch either crossing the hand above the wrist or slanting
from lower mount Luna into the wrist. This line indicates great phy-
sical energy. If the hand as a whole is coarse and sensual, the via
lascivia increases the sensuality, gluttony and passion shown by the
hand. When the hand is a more ideal or mental type, the excess
energy may be directed into work.
THE GIRDLE OF VENUS
The girdle of Venus (see plate 27, number 9) is an arc looping
down into the palm from between the first and second fingers and
the third and fourth. Occasionally, it stretches out from the Jupiter
finger to the base of Mercury or even to the outer edge of the palm.
It is in part a sister line to the line of heart and sometimes, when the
later is absent, it takes its place.
Depending on the type of hand, the girdle of Venus has widely
differing implications. On a sensitive hand, it is likely to mean
nervous disorders, often connected with sex maladjustments. Many
fine lines etched all over the palm will bear out the interpretation of
nervous sensitiveness. When the headline is poor, the girdle of Venus
may be taken as a symptom of hysteria.
In a hand which is strongly physical, the girdle of Venus empha-
MINOR LINES OF THE HAND 73
sizes sensuality, sometimes, if it is both strong and much broken up,
showing sexual abnormalities.
The further the girdle of Venus extends across the hand, the better,
for proximity to the palms outer edge allows the stabilizing force of
Mercury to be felt. When, in cutting through the lines of Saturn or
Apollo, the girdle of Venus actually breaks them, sensuality or pre-
occupation with sex will be an obstacle to success.
THE LINE OF VITALITY
The line of Mars or vitality (see plate 27, number 10) is a sister
line to the line of life, running parallel to it and inside its enclosure.
This line greatly strengthens a weak line of life and adds tremendous
energy to a good one. Its aid is limited to the period during which it
extends, and only when the line of vitality continues for the whole
length of the line of life is its effect felt from birth to death. On the
whole, the line of Mars is an excellent indication, but there is always
the danger that the bounding energy and vitality it gives will lead to
excesses of various kinds.
THE RING OF SOLOMON
The ring of Solomon (see plate 27, number 15) is a very unusual
formation, made by an extension of the line of heart which, instead
of rising on the mount of Jupiter, begins as a semicircle curling like
a ring around the base of the Jupiter finger. This sign I have found
associated with a very fastidious, sensitive nature, often possessing
psychic or clairvoyant powers. Its presence, though at best rare, is
more frequent in the hands of women than of men.
THE RING OF SATURN
The ring of Saturn (see plate 27, number 16) may be a line cir-
cling the base of the middle finger or formed of two lines starting on
either side of that finger and crossing below it. It is an unfavorable
sign, indicating lack of constancy and should be read as a warning to
overcome vacillation and changeableness. To negate the effect of the
74 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
ring of Saturn, a strong-willed thumb and good line of head should be
The bracelets (see plate 27, number 11) are the rings on the wrist,
denning the lower edge of the palm. They may be absent altogether
or there may be one or two or, at the most, three. These used to be
considered indications of longevity, a term of thirty years being
arbitrarily assigned to each bracelet. In my studies of hands, I have
found the bracelets to mean very little, except that the upcurving of
the topmost one into the palm itself is strong indication of sterility.
THE LINES OF TRAVEL
The lines of travel (see plate 27, number 12) are actually not
prophetic marks of future wanderings over the face of the earth, but
rather the indications of a restlessness which may very well find its
expression in voyagings. These lines are found cutting into the palm
from far on the outer edge of the Lunar mount. They run in a
diagonally upward direction. When the travel lines merge with the
line of destiny, travel is likely to be your career or a part of it. As to
fixing the date of the voyages, the diagram fixing time in the hand
applies to these lines as to the others. Restlessness, the desire to be
on the move, to see new places, people and things is stronger at some
periods of life than others. Some persons are hit by wanderlust in
their youth, others not until after they have satisfied other ambitions.
That is the extent to which these lines fix the dates of voyages.
SPECIAL MARKINGS IN THE PALM 75
Chapter XV. SPECIAL MARKINGS IN THE PALM
IN addition to the eminences on the palm and the lines which cross
it in all directions, you will often notice special formations. Each of
these has its particular significance, modified by the position in which
it is placed.
The star (see plate 55) is, with only two exceptions, one of the
most fortunate signs to have. One negative implication is connected
with a star on the line of head, particularly at its end (see plate 56,
1 ) , which may be a sign of genius, but of that peculiar genius which
crosses the border from sanity to insanity. A star on mount Saturn,
under the middle finger, is the second unfortunate placement. This is
manifestation of a dreaded kind of distinction, of notoriety and in-
famy more as the result of circumstances than through any wrong-
doing of the person himself.
The more favorable placements of the star give great distinction.
A star on the mount of Apollo (see plate 56, 3) is a sign of the great-
est good luck, promising wealth, renown and happiness. This position
is usually associated with a public career. A star on the positive
mount of Mars above the Venus mount (see plate 56, 8), is more
particularized, being usually associated with distinction in military
affairs. On mount Jupiter (see plate 56, 12), a star signifies capacity
for leadership and its realization. On mount Mercury (see plate 56,
4), the star promises success in the fields associated with that mount,
science or commerce, according to the other indications of the hand.
A star on the negative mount of Mars on the outer edge of the palm
76 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
between the Lunar mount and that of Mercury (see plate 56, 7)
promises recompense and honor for great moral courage. A star on
mount Luna (see plate 56, 10) gives celebrity achieved through
application of a vivid imagination. A star on mount Venus (see plate
56, 9) tells of unusual magnetism for the opposite sex. A star on the
plain of Mars (see plate 56, 6) marks you for success in invention.
Between the origin of the line of life and the line of destiny (see plate
56, 5), a star indicates prominence in theology. On the tip of the
little finger (see plate 56, 11), a star emphasizes the facility with
language which is associated with that finger and tells of spellbinding
eloquence. On the tips of the other fingers (see plate 56, 13), stars
SPECIAL MARKINGS IN THE PALM
78 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
SPECIAL MARKINGS IN THE PALM 79
80 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
are marks of well developed sensory nerves, giving unusually delicate
perception to the fingertips.
Unlike the star, an island (see plate 55) is never a fortunate sign.
SPECIAL MARKINGS IN THE PALM 81
When found in the body of a line, it reduces the positive implications
of that line. When found in other positions, it usually weakens the
promise of a mount or finger. On mount Jupiter (see plate 57, 1),
an island shows some misfortune, possibly enmities, resulting from an
overly ambitious, domineering nature. On mount Saturn (see plate
57, 2), an island produces a morbid, dark-tinged trend of thought.
An island on or under mount Apollo (see plate 56, 3) shows loss of
reputation through gossip or malicious interference by others. On
mount Mercury (see plate 57, 4), an island means losses in busi-
ness; on the heart line (see plate 57, 11), unfortunate loves; on the
line of head (see plate 57, 5), either frequent headaches or some
interference with the reason; at the end of the line of life (see plate
57, 9), some mystery, perhaps associated with the manner or cir-
cumstances of death; on mount Venus (see plate 57, 8), unhappy
infatuations; on Mars positive (see plate 57, 7), fear of violence,
though this may be temporary. An island on mount Luna (see plate
57, 6), unless it is accompanied by a very poor line of head or a weak
thumb, can usually be counteracted. Its indication is of a dis-
ordered, fantastic imagination, and discipline will overcome it.
The cross (see plate 55) may be either fortunate or the opposite,
according to its position. Under the index finger (see plate 58, 1),
it brings fulfillment to ambition. On mount Saturn (see plate 58, 2),
it signifies a morbid disposition, though not so deep nor consistent
a melancholia as that connoted by an island in this position. Under
the Apollo finger (see plate 58, 3), a cross gives keen observation,
invaluable to the student of human nature or the reporter. On mount
Mercury (see plate 58, 4), a cross intensifies the keen business sense
which goes with that finger. A cross on mount Mars, negative under
Mercury (see plate 58, 6), ameliorates stubbornness. On mount Luna
(see plate 58, 7), a cross shows a vivid imagination put to the use
of self-deception, and on the plain of Mars, between the lines of head
and heart (see plate 58, 5), a cross signifies a person fascinated by
82 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
The triangle, which is usually found on one of the mounts, points
up the special talents associated with that mount or with the finger
of the same name. A triangle on mount Jupiter (see plate 59, 1)
shows the ability to rule great masses of people. A triangle on mount
Saturn (see plate 59, 2) counteracts the sombreness of that thought-
ful finger and indicates melancholy successfully overcome. A triangle
under the Apollo finger (see plate 59, 3) gives administrative ability
in finance. Under the Mercury finger (see plate 59, 4), it shows
executive powers in business. On Mars negative (see plate 59, 7),
it manifests great spiritual resources. At the end of the line of head
(see plate 59, 8), it gives the powers of sound reasoning to counteract
too vivid an imagination. On mount Luna (see plate 59, 9), a tri-
angle shows presence of mind in emergency; on Venus (see plate 59,
11), calmness and stability in love; on Mars positive (see plate 59,
5), social interests and abilities.
The circle has but few connotations. I have often found it situated
under the third finger or between the second and third fingers in the
hands of singers or those who are gifted musically in other ways. At
the base of mount Luna, a circle shows vivid dramatic imagination.
A fork with two short even branches, like the base of a photog-
rapher's tripod seen sectionally (see plate 55) shows dramatic talent.
I have found a formation of this shape on the lines of head, on the
destiny line, on the Apollo line, or even on the line of heart of some
of those who have made their mark behind the world's footlights or
under the Kleigs. This is called a tripod.
SPECIAL MARKINGS IN THE PALM 83
A square (see plate 55) is always a sign of healing. When it binds
a broken line together, it shows the overcoming of whatever originally
caused the break. The square must be considered in relation to the
position in which it appears. On a mount, it means protection from
the negative connotations of that mount. On a line, it means preserva-
tion from ill health, from excesses, from poor choice in the selection
of your career, protection from bad judgment in a love affair, or in
A grille, made up of many lines crossing in opposite directions,
resulting in a sort of screen effect (see plate 55), may be found in
any part of the hand, but it usually appears on a mount. The grille
signifies difficulties and weaknesses in connection with the qualities
associated with the particular mount on which it appears. On the
mount of Mercury, a grille connotes indiscretion; on Apollo, vanity
and danger of notoriety from too much seeking of the limelight; on
Saturn, melancholia; on Jupiter, stiffnecked pride and a domineering
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SIGNS
Of course, the force of any of the incidental marks on a hand must,
like everything else, be read in conjunction with the general indica-
tions of the hand its shape, consistency, flexibility, and especially
in connection with the particular line or mount on which the mark
occurs. An island, for example, on a line which is clear and bold both
before and after its interruption by that unfortunate mark is not so
threatening as an island situated in a line which is weak throughout
its entire length, or much broken up after the appearance of the
My experience with hands leads me to differ with those authorities
who deny all significance to such markings as the square, island,
84 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
circle or grille. But I do agree with them that too arbitrary and spe-
cific a meaning can be read into them. The import of these signs must
be arrived at through a balancing of all the factors appearing in the
hand, and the interpretation placed upon them must never be given
finality. The hand must always be regarded in a state of flux, just as
is the personality as a whole. If you make a point of studying hands
over a period of years, you will be surprised at the changes to be
found in a person's hand as he grows and changes.
PART TWO The Doctor Loo\s at Hands
Chapter XVI. THE STRUCTURE OF THE HAND
WHEN the doctor looks at hands, what does he see? Certainly not
only what we laymen behold, a moving part of the body having the
power to grasp objects, move them, make them, change them; nor
does he see just an appendage through which we can express our-
selves, supplementing our powers of speech by gesture.
Underlying the doctor's professional glance at our hands is his
knowledge of their structure and their functioning. First, he sees in
the hand a part of the body whose development he can trace through
the centuries. Though there are large gaps in the doctor's knowledge
of evolution, which he has to bridge with guesswork and theory, he
has a consistent explanation of the successive steps by which life in
its simplest form a tiny, undifferentiated bit of living matter
became more complicated. Cells of living matter became specialized
in form and function. In the simplest forms, a single cell had limited
and elementary powers of motion and feeling. That single cell com-
bined the functions of eating, reproducing and reacting to outside
stimuli. As the organism grew more complicated, special cells be-
came different from their fellows. Certain ones took on the job of
responding to outside impressions. These were nerve cells. Others
took on the job of producing substances needed by the body. These
were gland cells. Others had the work of contracting, or moving.
These made up the muscle tissue.
The doctor sees all these cells at their work in the hand. Struc-
turally, he sees a skeleton of small bones at the wrist, the carpal
bones, and other small bones extended to make the fingers. These are
the metacarpals and phalanges. The formation, the consistency, the
size of these bones tell the doctor a story about the health of his
86 THE DOCTOR LOOKS AT HANDS
Covering the bones, the doctor sees the muscular tissue, and it
tells its story. And, carrying life into the hand, the doctor sees a
system of blood vessels, part of the body's circulatory system. This
tells the doctor still another story through the color and the tem-
perature of the hand. The skin, to the doctor, is not just a thin, pro-
tective covering for the hand. It is made up of rows of cells an
outer layer, the epidermis, and an inner one, the derma (or corium).
And in these rows he finds tiny glands and nerve cells.
The doctor knows that the hand is very highly endowed with
sensory nerve cells, which take the messages of sensation to the brain.
Then millions of other nerve cells receive the message back and pass
it on to the muscular tissue. As the same stimulus is repeated over
and over again, it beats an accustomed path through the central
nervous system to the brain's cortex, and thus it is that we form our
habits, learn to associate one thing with another, develop a memory.
The hand, probably as much or more than any other part of the
body, is the destination of many of the complicated messages from
the brain, for the hand can learn to do things which are far removed
from simple reflex action or from instinctive reaction. The hand can
learn to play the violin, to weave, to build houses, to paint, to mix
chemicals. Is it any wonder that the hand records its owner's life in
a living tapestry?
Just as the nerves form a telegraphic coordinating system govern-
ing movement and responses through the body, so do the gland cells
influence the chemistry of the body. The two functions really cannot
be separated, for the health and activity of certain glands, particu-
larly the ductless or endocrine glands, influence the nerve responses.
Take the thyroid gland, located in the throat region. This gland
produces thyroxin, which can completely alter a person's tempera-
ment. Absence or deficiency of thyroxin will result in the storage of
large amounts of fat. It will cause subnormal body temperature, a
slower pulse, a general slowing of the body's living processes accom-
panied by mental and physical sluggishness. The hand will exhibit
definite symptoms showing this thyroid deficiency. And excess of the
thyroid hormone, which raises the tempo of living, increases the
pulse rate and results in emaciation and nervous irritability, will also
be indicated in the hand.
STRUCTURE OF THE HAND 87
I am by no means urging that physicians should substitute hand
analysis for the diagnostic methods which the science of medicine has
developed throughout the centuries. But I do believe that the hands
are an important diagnostic aid, the significance of which has been
very largely overlooked by the practicing physician. Their value lies
not only in the corroborating symptoms which they display and which
give greater certainty to a diagnosis. They have still another, two-
fold contribution for medicine. First, I would transfer the prophetic
powers which superstition has assigned to palmistry to the medical
aspect of hand analysis. It is very true that conditions of the blood,
the functioning of the circulatory system, of the glands, the resulting
irritability of unresponsiveness of the nervous system, leave their
mark in the hands often long before the abnormal condition has be-
come sufficiently marked to be classed as a disease or illness. Thus,
hands point to dangers threatening the health, and mark out par-
ticular classes of ailments to which a person is predisposed.
As our civilization becomes more complex, we deal more and more
with substances which are injurious to our health. With the entrance
of chemistry into industry, there has arisen a whole new series of
ailments known as industrial diseases. In a sense, they are not en-
tirely new to modern times, for certain processes go far back into
history. In the dead civilizations of the past, laborers fell victim to
lead poisoning, miners had special, mysterious illnesses, potters died
of conditions not shared by other craftsmen. But the incidence and
virulence of these self-induced diseases is multiplied by every new
factory, increased by each new process, spread in every new mining
town and manufacturing center. Millions of free men die or drag out
their days in a half-death caused by what Pliny called the "slave
Physicians who have studied occupational diseases often find the
earliest symptoms in the hands. Conditions which result in tubercu-
losis, wasting away of the tissues and energies of man, could be dealt
with much earlier if factories installed regular physical checkups, in-
cluding careful examination of their workers' hands, and took pre-
ventive measures where a new process was found to be hazardous.
Still another value which hands have for the physician is in the
key they give to a patient's psychology. There are many theories
88 THE DOCTOR LOOKS AT HANDS
why this is so. I have no definite answer to the mystery, except to
suggest that the intimate connection of the hands with the function-
ing of the entire body gives the hands a sort of preview of the things
which make us behave, not only like human beings, but like a par-
ticular human being, Jack Jones, or Jill Smith. Whatever the reason,
I have found the hands an unusually accurate guide not only to the
temporary attitude of a person toward life, but also to the more or
less consistent outlook which runs like a main motif through all his
actions. Since, in many diseases, the patient's psychological state is
as important as his physiological, I think a study of the hands will
give extremely valuable aid in their treatment. So long as man's self
is the least understood phenomenon with which he has to deal, he
ought certainly to use every means by which he can know himself
If this applies to diseases whose causes are organic and recogniz-
able, how much more does it apply to functional conditions whose
causes are obscure, buried in the complex whole. Hypochondria may
range from the tantrums of a bored debutante to a self-induced
paralysis. And the borderline between mental balance and unbalance,
or emotional control and lack of it, gives us an unexplored region in
human behavior where we must take direction from every guidepost
our limited knowledge affords us.
Chapter XVII. THE NAILS
ABNORMALITIES in shape, strength, texture, brittleness and color
of the nails are accepted even by the most conservative of medicos as
indicative of the body's condition. Already, there are nail symptoms
which are hardly open to question. Interpretation of others is still
somewhat controversial. I have found, however, that my opinion of
a person's physical condition, in which study of the nails plays a
large part, is unusually accurate. I have examined hands and sub-
sequently checked my findings with a physician's diagnosis. On
more than one occasion, I have been able to point to definite dangers
menacing the health of an individual, and the treatment of the con-
dition I discovered has in some cases prevented its becoming much
more serious. Where a case has already been diagnosed, a skeptic
might say that my guess was the result of telepathic communication,
but where mine was the original diagnosis, the only explanation
which satisfies reason is that the method I use is an accurate one.
The nail's shape in itself shows predispositions towards certain ail-
ments and is a fairly good index to a person's general physical condi-
Long, oval-shaped nails (see plate 60) usually belong to those
whose physical constitution is weak. With nails of this oval shape are
60 61 62
associated deficiencies of the blood anemia, for example and dis-
eases of the respiratory system. A bluish color on nails of this type
is added evidence of anemia. The liability to pulmonary diseases is
perhaps as much due to lowered resistance, a result of malnourish-
ment and resultant anemia, as to any direct association between nails
of this shape and the lungs.
A short, neat, oval nail, without moons (see plate 61) is classed as
the cardiac type. Its color is usually bluish. This may signify an
organic defect of the heart. The same shape on a nail with moons
well-developed is often the accompaniment of functional disorders of
the circulatory system, palpitations or high blood pressure. A very
high arch in the nail supports the diagnonis of palpitations.
Short nails, very flat and broad at the tip but tapering into a
point at the base and thus giving a triangular effect (see plate 62)
90 THE DOCTOR LOOKS AT HANDS
are most often found on persons of highly nervous temperament.
Such nails if accompanied by significant enlargement of the first
phalanx may show an improperly functioning thyroid, but the indi-
cation is much too uncertain to be given credence by itself. At
best, it can be looked upon as a diagnostic aid in pre-clinical ill-
ness, pointing out the inception of disease or a predisposition to cer-
tain conditions. White flecks show an aggravation of the nerves.
Throat weaknesses I have often found associated with nails shaped
somewhat like the nervous type, that is, broad at the tip and pointed
at the base. There is, however, this difference. The nail which goes
with susceptibility to bronchial ailments is curved in outline, while
the nervous nail has straight, flat contours.
The texture of the nail should be smooth. Heavy transverse
ridging may be a warning of paralysis. Such consistent cross ridging
of the nail is not to be confused with occasional transverse grooves.
The latter are only the record of a minor indisposition in the past.
They never foretell future illnesses or predispositions. In fact, they
are so definitely related to the past that they indicate just how far
back in time an illness has occurred by the distance of the ridge
from the base of the nail. Allowing a span of about six months for
the length of the entire nail the time it ordinarily takes for a nail
to grow its full length you can judge the time which has elapsed
since the ridge first grew into the nail.
Spots on the nail are signs of various kinds of disorders, though
they are not very specific in their message. White spots show excess
nervous irritability the response of too many nerve cells to outside
stimuli. You will generally find these little white speckles in the
hands of excitable, tense persons. In children, the white spots are a
warning for parents to work out a simple regimen of life with
regular meals, regular sleeping hours, and regulation of the body
functions. A change in the color of the spots to a pinkish or yellow-
ish hue usually shows the return to good health. Dark spots, brown
or blue, show some serious condition of the blood, possibly an in-
fection or the presence of an inorganic poison.
The color of the entire nail is also significant. A healthy nail is
pinkish, smoolh and has a certain natural brilliancy. Irregular
blotchings of pink and white are an index to poor blood condition,
CONFORMATION OF THE HAND 91
though beyond that, this symptom will not specify the nature of the
condition. Very pale nails show lack of vitality, possibly a calcium
deficiency, especially if the nail is soft. Bluish nails warn of poor
circulation and, in women, of irregular functioning of the sex organs.
A bluish nail bordered with a dark red outline is usually a sign of
auto-intoxication, the accumulation of poisons because of faulty
A short, narrow nail, pale, very thin and much curved, is often
found to accompany either calcium deficiency or incomplete calcium
assimilation. Since the utilization of calcium in our bodies is closely
connected with the endocrine glands, such nails are often a warning
to look into the glandular functioning.
Short, broad nails having a bright, good color go with good vitality
and health. Temporary ridges or spots may appear even in healthy
nails, when a person is overworked, but the surface usually remains
Chapter XVIII. THE CONFORMATION AND SHAPE
OF THE HAND AND ITS SIGNIFI-
CANCE IN MEDICINE.
TO SAY that a thin, much-lined hand is the nervous type is not to
repeat the superstitions of witch doctors and brewers of herbs. It is
to recognize what I have already pointed out, that a person's tem-
perament is directly dependent on the functioning of the endocrine
glands and that the hand's general conformation is also affected by
the same causes. Minute differences in the body's chemistry will
greatly change its physical, mental and emotional reactions. The
doctor sees the hand as an index to the totality of personality not
just in the narrow sense, but in the broader sense combining
physiological and psychological aspects.
92 THE DOCTOR LOOKS AT HANDS
So far as the hand goes, any irregularity in size immediately
arouses the doctor's suspicion. If the hands are noticeably large, the
palms deepened, all the palmar eminences enlarged and the fingers
stubby with the first phalanx having a slightly puffy appearance,
the doctor will look for other symptoms of acromegaly, caused by
imperfect functioning of the pituitary gland. This gland is a small
body located on the ventral side of the fore-brain in all vertebrates.
The ailments which result from abnormalities in the workings of
this gland are often obscure and badly understood. In such case, the
additional evidence which the hands offer ought certainly not to be
Diseases of the thyroid gland are also evidenced in the hand. In
hyperthyroidism or myxedema, the metabolism of the entire body is
thrown out of gear. This produces changes in the appearance of
the skin, including the subcutaneous tissue lying directly under it.
Since the thyroid gland also regulates some of the activities of the
internal organs, such as the liver, and is responsible for the rate of
absorption of fat in the body, faulty secretion by the thyroid gland
causes accumulation of fatty tissue in certain parts of the body,
usually in the face, the torso and the hands.
As the condition is aggravated, the face becomes over-developed
and the hands take on a fat, pudgy look. Action of the entire system
becomes sluggish and dull. The extreme condition of this disease
produces a mental and physical torpor approaching idiocy. By
careful administration of thyroid extract to patients suffering from
the disease, the fat may be rapidly burned in the body: the suf-
ferer loses weight; metabolism is restored to its proper rate; and,
along with the disappearance of other symptoms, the hands usually
assume their normal appearance.
When the body's calcium-phosphorous balance is disturbed, an-
other noticeable change occurs in the hands. The cuticle becomes
excessive in formation, and the skin around the nails, instead of
being soft and pliable, becomes hard, dry and cracked. Defective
"parathyroid" conditions may speed up this abnormal reaction. Often
patients whose hands bear thick, dry cuticles like this are subject
to rheumatic diseases and to arteriosclerosis, more commonly known
as hardening of the arteries.
CONFORMATION OF THE HAND 93
Diagnosis of chronic rheumatism is aided by the study of the
hand's appearance, for the appendicular symptoms of rheumatism
are quite definite. The knuckles are knobbed and swollen, sometimes
painful, but they can easily be recognized by the knoblike protu-
berance of the joints. This is not to be confused with the knotty bone
formation of a healthy large-jointed hand. Where there is a morbid
condition of the joint, you will usually see the skin inflamed and
stretched over the projecting articulations. There are also deformi-
ties and unnatural shapes of the hand associated with many other
diseases, especially those of nerve involvements causing wasting
away or overdevelopment.
The hands of older people are characterized by conditions peculiar
to their age. There is the "pill-roller" hand, which assumes a posi-
tion similar to that taken in rolling pills or cigarettes with the thumb
and forefinger. This is symptomatic of paralysis agitans. Then, there
is the condition known as "preacher's" or "benediction" hand. This
usually accompanies inflammations of the brain-covering in the
region of the cervical spine. In still other conditions, the hand takes
on the appearance of an animal's claw, which indicates to the doctor
that there is pressure on the nerve trunk or injury to the nerve
centers in the spine.
The fingers' shapes have their role in the drama of health and dis-
ease. Very short clubbed and stubby fingers are frequently due to
poor return circulation, the evidence of some cardiac or pulmonary
involvement. Certain abnormalities in the fingers are so specifically
associated with diseases affecting the entire body that they are
called by the name of the disease. There are, for example, gouty
fingers, syphilitic fingers and tuberculous fingers, each characteristic
of the disease for which they are named. Others, just as specific in
their diagnostic application, are known by terms descriptive of
their appearance, like the baseball finger. It is my contention that
careful study of the fingers' shapes would immeasurably add cer-
tainty to our present diagnostic methods. These are, after all, still
largely based on experience and association with little or no actual
proof underlying their application.
94 THE DOCTOR LOOKS AT HANDS
Chapter XIX. THE SKIN, LINES AND RIDGES IN
THEIR APPLICATION TO MEDICINE
IN ADDITION to the formation, consistency and shape of the
nails and of the hand as a whole, the skin of the hand will frequently
give a clue to the type of malady to which a person may be subject.
A warm, pliant skin, especially when it is excessively moist, points to
the possibility of sexual abnormalities. This may take the form of
overestimated sex impulses, even though the impulses are not given
direct expression. In fact, inhibition sometimes intensifies the con-
dition and leads to corollary diseases. Another possibility to be
explored in connection with this type of skin is overactivity of the
thyroid gland and the nervous excitation which is its accompaniment.
Very fine skin of normal temperature and moisture, covering flesh
of firm, elastic consistency, shows a personality very close to normal
except for a slight tendency towards greater than average sensitivity
to nervous excitation.
The sort of person whose instinctive emotional responses are re-
pressed, one in whom there is definite conflict between the primary
impulse and its expression, can often be identified by a very dry,
flaky skin. This, too, is indicative of improper functioning of the
thyroid gland, usually lack of sufficient thyroid secretion. The coarser
and lower in temperature this type of skin, the more certain is this
diagnosis. Nervous energy lacking vigorous physical resistance char-
acterizes this condition.
In diagnosing functional ailments, the physician has found that
psychological aspects must play a larger and larger part in his con-
siderations. Suggestion, auto-suggestion and hysteria are often ac-
companied by physiological symptoms which can scarcely be dis-
tinguished from actual disorders. In some cases, one leads to the
SKIN, LINES AND RIDGES 95
other, as in self-induced paralysis where partial atrophy of unused
muscles may result from disuse. Study of the formation of the line
of head, of course in relation to the hand as a whole and to other
symptomatic indications, aids in identification of neuroses or even
of the more advanced psychoses.
For every maladjustment, there are previous indications, identify-
ing the type of person and the type of mental unbalance to be ex-
pected of him. The wide swings from one extreme to another
characteristic of manic-depressive insanity find their expression in
the hand, and the duality of the schizophrenic is also shown there.
Where the headline itself is of poor quality, feathered, broken or
chained, too vivid an imagination and tendencies to melancholia are
almost predestined to result in unbalance. Therefore, an inferior
headline with a branch swinging sharply down and penetrating
deeply on to the mount of Luna can be taken as corroborating
indication of this type of insanity.
In a hand with a very poor headline, if the mount of Venus is not
well developed and the mount of Saturn is dominant, morbid hallu-
cinations may occur in early life. In such cases, proper therapeutic
measures are able to stabilize the mind, but opposition or attempts
at suppression aggravate the condition.
The various degrees of subnormal mentality are usually coupled
with hands which have no marked abnormalities but rather a gener-
ally subnormal index. The will phalanx of the thumb will be unde-
veloped. Reasoning powers will be lacking. Emotional responses will
be very limited. Aesthetic sensibilities will be of the simplest, though
not necessarily entirely absent.
In the hand of someone who is mentally subnormal, we usually
find a wide-sloping line of head made up entirely of islands or little
hairlines. This formation is characteristic of the congenital idiot or
imbecile, usually quite harmless and childish, but never able to de-
velop into normal adulthood.
When such subnormality is due to glandular dysfunction, symp-
toms of that condition will, of course, also be present.
When unbalance is added to such a subnormal hand, the vicious
concomitants of insanity can be expected. There may be signs of
sexual abnormality to complicate lack of mentality. The head line
96 THE DOCTOR LOOKS AT HANDS
will often be made up of short branches running in all directions.
A number of lines may start inside the line of life on mount Mars and
cross the hand to the opposite mount of Mars. The nails on this type
of hand are generally very short and red, the fingers crooked.
Aside from its general quality and appearance, the skin of the
palmar surface shows tiny ridges assuming definite patterns. Their
nature cannot be determined definitely except by microscopic exam-
ination, for the formations are too minute to be differentiated by the
naked eye. Such an examination is much more accurately made from
a handprint, which reveals the ridges with greater clarity than does
the hand itself.
The pattern is formed only on the outer layer of the skin. Never-
theless, it is extremely significant in the study of hands in connec-
tion with the body's health. Normally, the ridges are clear and dis-
tinct. Breaks, dots, points and other malformations are indicative
of diseased conditions. But it is important to differentiate between
breaks in the actual pattern and the breaks caused by disease.
Two kinds of disease conditions are most easily distinguished
through malformations in the ridges of the palmar skin: bacterial
infections and absorption of inorganic poisons. Apparently the in-
vasion of the body by hostile micro-organisms or foreign substances
produces chemical changes which cause characteristic alterations in
the skin. The ridge pattern itself is left unaltered, but the lines
which form it are changed in appearance.
In malaria, I have noticed that the ridges just under the line of
head are interrupted by minute, white dots, not large enough to
break the ridge line. In an enlarged print or under the microscope,
they look like tiny white speckles scattered inside the ridge line.
Intestinal infections show up as irregular breaks in the ridges and
pieces gouged out of their edge, giving the ridges a crenellated out-
line. Non-malignant ulcers are associated with lack of definition in
the ridging of the skin caused by irregular interruptions and a sort of
featheriness in the ridges' outlines.
Many fine dots along the line of heart are indicative of heart
disease. When these dots increase, clustering in crowded bunches at
any one point, there is usually also a break or weakening of the
heart line at that point, presaging danger of cardiac failure. Muscu-
SKIN, LINES AND RIDGES 97
lar deterioration of the heart may be shown by a melting of the
ridges under the heart line into clusters of fine dots.
The great variety of toxic conditions which may originate in the
intestines is accompanied by as great a variation of ridge malfor-
mations, usually situated just under the line of head and near its
termination. Locating the seat of a troublesome systemic infection
is thus aided by study of the hand. Diagnosis of the nature of the
infection requires careful consideration of all the symptoms, includ-
ing analysis of the palmar ridges.
One of the discoveries of modern medicine is that simple rheuma-
tism, which used to be blamed for every little-understood inflamma-
tion or pain and ache, is really a complex of widely divergent fac-
tors. Dental infections, cardiac weaknesses, faulty diet all may play
their part in causing the disease. Naturally, the palmar indications
differ with the nature of the ailment, and it is my belief that com-
plete understanding of their significance will go far toward identify-
ing the conditions underlying symptoms generally classed as rheu-
matism. This, in turn, will point to the specific treatment and pos-
Where the palm gives evidence of a functional disorder of the
intestinal tract, where there are many small islanded formations and
tiny perpendicular lines from the outer edge of the hand in towards
the center of the palm, acute rheumatism may be looked for. In
arthritis, there is always some indication of bacterial intoxication.
Usually the life and head lines will be feathered with minute dots,
giving them a light, fluffy appearance. Even the fate line is some-
times so marked.
Perhaps it is in early identification of the dread disease, cancer,
that study of the hand will have its greatest value to medicine.
All authorities are agreed that early diagnosis and treatment in the
first stages are essential. Yet the first symptoms are often so vague
that they are passed over as of no consequence and medical care
is postponed until too late.
Authorities find that the hand quite definitely indicates the
predisposition to cancer, and early stages of the disease can readily
be detected. Malignant growth can be identified by the typical
malformation of the palmar ridges. Seen under the microscope, these
98 THE DOCTOR LOOKS AT HANDS
show regular breaks made by clean transverse cuts at fairly even
intervals, giving the ridges the general appearance of rows of tiny
soldiers. This cancerous formation is almost always placed just under
the end of the line of head.
In the same way, the hand will show characteristic deviations from
normal surface markings for diabetes, disorders of the genital sys-
tem, kidneys, liver or nerve and circulatory machinery. It is hardly
within the scope of this book to enlarge on these symptoms, nor is
it the place of a layman to theorize too extensively about the nature
and cause of disease. On one thing I want to caution the reader.
Proper diagnosis cannot be made through the hands alone, certainly
not through casual perception of a single indication in the hands.
A careful student of the hand must balance all the facts presented
to arrive at even the most tentative hypothesis. A physician will
still need to place his reliance mainly on the symptoms he knows.
I am only suggesting that he add the symptoms appearing in the
hand to those he is accustomed to study and accept in evidence. I
believe that the additional information thus gained will give some
measure of guidance, especially in the determination of predisposi-
tions and the identification of diseases in their very early stages.
PART THREE The Hand as Medium for Identification
Chapter XX. TYPES OF FINGERPRINTS
THE one use to which study of the hands has been put with thor-
ough scientific method is in fingerprinting for the purposes of iden-
tification. Knowledge that individual fingerprints differ from each
other is no new thing. The Chinese were aware of this fact many
thousands of years ago and made use of it as a means of verifying
It is only recently, however, that the western world has adopted
fingerprinting as an aid to its police work and in keeping track of
records embracing large numbers of persons. The master criminal
identification file which the Federal government has built up in
Washington contains what is probably the largest collection of finger-
prints in the world, each classified according to type, and no two
This is the basis of the fingerprint identification system that
there are no two sets of fingerprints in the world which are exactly
alike and further that each record is a permanent one. Though the
hands change in the shape even of their bony structure, though the
strong, muscular hand of a youth will become flabby and corded with
age, though the individual lines and markings of the palm may be
completely altered in the course of a lifetime, the design made by
the papillary ridges on the fingertips remains the same throughout
life. If the ridges are mutilated, they grow back in the identical
pattern. The ridging in the palm is subject to slight alterations, more
in the nature of its lines (as I have indicated in the chapter about
the medical application of hand analysis) than in the formation of
the pattern, but the palm, too, can be used for identification
How is it possible to classify and use the fingerprints if they grow
IDENTIFICATION BY THE HAND
in such infinite variety? The explanation is that, though they vary
in detail, the designs on our fingertips all conform to a few basic
patterns. They are all evolved from the ridging which grows in con-
centric circles on the cushion pads which animals have on their feet.
TYPES OF FINGERPRINTS
Nearest to this design of concentric circles is the true whorl (see
plate 63). Next is the spiral whorl, which is the beginning of the
design breakdown with its tendency for the ridges to straighten out.
The spiral whorl is usually composed of two ridges starting at a
central point and widening out into ever larger spiral circles, like the
vortex of a whirlpool.
The third design in the ridge patterns is the loop formation (see
plate 64). In the first of these, the double loop type, the two ridges
at the center of the spiral whorl have lengthened into two U-shaped
loops, opening in opposite directions, and the ridges of the fingertip
flow in rounded arcs from these two loops as their center. The single
loop is a still further step in the process of widening and unwinding
the center of the whorl design. It differs from the double loop only
in that one of the loops has disappeared, but its lines still follow
each other closely* from their common center.
The fourth design is that in which the U-shaped loops open out
TYPES OF FINGERPRINTS 101
into a wider arch curving about an upright in the tented arch forma-
tion (see plate 65). Then there is the ordinary arch (see plate 66),
and finally there is the composite form which, as its name indicates,
combines the ridges in loops, whorls or arches (see plate 67).
These basic patterns, the whorl with its variations, the loop, the
arch, the tented arch and the composite are the basis for our system
"."' "' .VtV?"*
of identification by fingerprints. In the millions of fingers in this
world, there may be individual digits a very few which are exactly
alike, having the same number of ridge lines, of the same thickness,
with breaks, changes of direction and curves all exactly duplicated.
102 IDENTIFICATION BY THE HAND
But there will be no two hands in which the ten digits are all exactly
the same and in the same combination.
Though criminal identification is still the best known use of finger-
prints, many other applications are now coming into practice. A few
banks have substituted fingerprints for a witnessed cross as au-
thorization from depositors who cannot write. Similarly, the govern-
ment requires fingerprints from all who entrust money to the Postal
Savings system. In these two cases, institutions which have accepted
responsibility wish to safeguard themselves by making sure of the
identity of those they deal with. The protection extends to both the
institution and the depositor.
Important documents may be signed by fingerprint rather than
by pen. In this connection, if the object is to prevent fraud, a signa-
ture ought certainly to accompany the print on wills, deeds or sim-
ilar papers, for it is obviously much simpler to obtain an involun-
tary print from the hand than to force a person to sign documents.
Prints from the hands of a dead man, an unconscious one, or one
who was under physical constraint might easily be obtained.
Other objections can also be raised, not to the use of fingerprints
for identification, but to their use for oppression. The fingerprinting
of employes by "hotels, factories, mills has been used in industrial
warfare to exclude union men from employment.
TYPES OF FINGERPRINTS 103
Yet these objections are not to fingerprinting per se, as a means
of identification, but to its misuse in the hands of certain agencies.
The benefits to be derived from fingerprint records of everyone are
immense. Hospitals have been known to mix babies at their birth.
The instances of such confusion are rare, but think of the anguish
of even one pair of parents who will never be certain if the child
they have is really their own. Law cases, claims on inheritances,
various impostures have resulted. Handprinting at birth would com-
pletely eliminate such unsolvable riddles of identity, for with the
print record of a new-born child could be taken an impression from the
What of the foundling babies, abandoned to the cold care of in-
stitutions while parents or other relatives are perhaps seeking to
find them again? What of lost children, found by the police, whose
description, bearing and childish tricks are advertised in the press,
but never with such accuracy that parents feel completely relieved of
doubt until they actually see their child again. What of the run-
aways? Publication of their handprints would lead to immediate
identification. Handprint records would certainly speed the hunt for
kidnaped children and quickly dispose of those false leads which
mark every widely publicized case.
Many institutions have come to realize the value of finger and
handprints. Maternity hospitals, finding that the tiny ridges on a
baby's fingertips are too minute to make clear impressions, take
prints of the foot. Footprints, however, do change more or less dur-
ing the course of a lifetime. Because of this, Dr. Gilbert Palmer Pond
has evolved a means which provides identification for life, using
prints of an infant's palm. The ridging on the eminences of the palm
is usually coarser than that on baby's fingertips, and such hospital
impressions supply a means of identification which can be used for
a lifetime. For absolute certainty, however, supplementing a baby's
palm print with impressions of the fingertips taken at school age is
At the end of this book you will find sheets of sensitized hand-
impression paper. One use to which you can put these sheets is as a
sort of new family bible. Instead of recording the signatures of all
the members of your family, you can here collect their handprints;
104 IDENTIFICATION BY THE HAND
but I shall discuss this in greater detail in a later chapter which gives
directions for the making of impressions.
I had one experience which brought the value of family handprint
records home to me with great force. True, coincidence played an im-
portant part in the occurrence, yet without the aid of handprints,
coincidence could not have effected its story-book work. My story
begins a few years ago, when a woman of prominent family came to
see me. The story she told me was a surprising one. Fifteen years
before, she had married a young man of good family. His addiction
to drink did not come as a complete surprise to her ; but the extent
of his failing did. Normally a thoughtful, rather moody person, her
husband became quarrelsome and even violent when drunk. His
weakness took more and more of a hold on him as time wore on.
Had it not been for her infant son, she would have left her husband.
After two years of marriage, a particularly violent scene brought
things to a climax. She threatened to have him forcibly committed
and given a cure. He retaliated with violence, and she had to flee
for her life. Unfortunately, her parents, to whom she immediately
went for aid, were not at home, and she paced up and down the
nallway for hours awaiting their return. As soon as they could, a
family group rushed over to her unhappy home to take the child, but
it was already too late. The house was empty except for the ser-
vants who had returned to find both the year-old boy and his father
Of course they searched. At first, wishing to keep the tragedy
trom being made public, they hired private detectives. Then, in
desperation, they appealed to the police. But for months, no one
could find a trace of the missing pair. You can imagine the mother's
agony. She had endured humiliation, even violence, from her husband
for the sake of the child only to have her son taken from her. Worst
of all was the uncertainty. Her waking moments were haunted by
pictures of the baby, cold, neglected, hungry. Her dreams repeated
the scenes with terrifying realism.
At last there was a gleam of hope. The police picked up the hus-
band in a small Pennsylvania town. The entire family rushed West to
see him. When they arrived, they found a shivering skeleton of a man
TYPES OF FINGERPRINTS 105
tossing in the last stages of delirium tremens. The hospital gave no
hope of life and no prospect of a rational word before death.
Fifteen years passed fifteen years of constant search, of oc-
casional hope, of ultimate despair.
There was little I could do. Naturally, I did not know where the
child was. As much to bolster up the mother's spirits as for any use-
ful purpose, I asked whether she had an impression of her baby's
hand, telling her that such a print would at least help identify the
boy if she ever found him.
At first she said no she had never thought of having the child's
handprint recorded. Then, suddenly, she recalled a series of tiny
prints on the wall beside the crib, where the baby had steadied his
first attempts to stand. The child's room had never been touched
since the tragic night when it was emptied of its little occupant.
We rushed over to examine it. By a chemical process, I brought
out the impressions on the wall and had photographs of them made.
I studied the prints very carefully, trying to comfort the mother
with all the information I could give her about her son. From the
hand, I formed a picture of a very intelligent, well-balanced youth
whose inheritance from his unhappy father was completely over-
shadowed by the good qualities with which his mother had endowed
him. ki Wherever he is," I told the unhappy mother, "I am sure that
he is someone you could be proud of."
Though the handprint did not tell us where the missing boy was y
it gave his mother renewed hope. With her new means of identifica-
tion as an aid, she began a systematic search of orphanage records,
tracing the careers of boys who had been sent out into the world.
Strangely enough, it was not she, with her careful work, who dis-
covered the boy. It was I, and quite by accident.
Many months had passed without my hearing from her. I was
lecturing in Akron, Ohio, and was scheduled to address the high-
school graduating class. The students, now preparing to take on the
responsibilities of adulthood, were anxious to know the stories in
their hands, and I agreed to look at all their prints, saying a brief
word about each.
One impression among the many struck me as familiar. I thought
106 IDENTIFICATION BY THE HAND
that I had analyzed it before and, calling out the boy's name which
was written on the impression paper, I asked whether I had already
told him about his hand. He said that I had not.
Yet the print was not a strange one. I knew I had seen it before. I
have a very peculiar memory. Some of you remember faces. Others
can recall a person's name even after years of separation and only
casual acquaintance. I am that way with hands. I never forget an
interesting hand, and even more usual ones stay in my mind for a
I asked the boy to speak to me after the exercises and learned that
he was an adopted son, taken to an orphanage by the New Jersey
family with whom his father had boarded him, rescued from there by
his present foster parents. Even then I did not guess the truth, but
on the train returning to New York I continued to study the boy's
handprint. Suddenly, the little imprint we had taken off a white wall
next to a baby's crib was pictured in my mind. I was not yet sure.
Certainty awaited my actual comparison of this new print with the
photograph I had in my files. A half hour's study of the two hands,
and I was convinced.
The rest I need not tell you in detail how I called the anxious
mother, how we traced the movements of this boy from the time he
was left a nameless boarder to the day I chanced on him in Akron,
how all the other evidence upheld my certainty You can imagine the
mother's joy and the son's happiness at finding his own family.
A handprint record is also immensely valuable in connection with
the aged and the sick. Have you not often read in the papers of men
and women picked up wandering in the streets, unable to remem-
ber their names, their addresses, their occupations, or anything which
could be used to restore them again to their families?
I recall one instance, which recently came to my attention, of
an elderly woman who was led out of a large New York department
store at closing time. She appeared to be a person of culture and
refinement, accustomed to care and thoughtfulness from others. A
victim of amnesia, she had forgotten what brought her to the store,
who she was or where she came from. Institutions gave her their
comfortless hospitality while her frantic family in another city
appealed to the police, to travelers' aid societies, to welfare agencies,
TYPES OF FINGERPRINTS 107
and even to hired private detectives. They spent terrifying hours
examining unidentified bodies in morgues and studying photographs
of other old women, picked up without name or associations. Only
the restoration of her memory finally brought this grandmother and
her family together again. Think of the suffering which might have
been avoided had her family been able to send her fingerprints to
police and hospitals all over the country.
Just to get an idea of the magnitude of the riddle of unsolved
identity to which fingerprints would yield an answer, consider the
lost and found statistics of Paris. Yearly, thousands of men, women,
young boys and girls come to Paris and are never heard of again. In
1935, according to police records, almost sixteen thousand persons
were reported "missing" in France's capital. These include husbands
who have deserted their families, mothers who have left children,
runaway boys and girls, old, young and middle-aged, the sick and
the well, the lonely and the sorely missed, the honest and the crooked
on second thought, not the crooked, for criminals' trademarks are
on record in the files of the Paris Surete, just as American felons' are
And these amazing figures apply to a city where everyone is re-
quired to register and carry papers of identification. In this country,
the numbers are even more astounding. The New York City Missing
Persons Bureau is now burdened with over thirty thousand identifi-
cation cases each year. Eight thousand dead are buried every year in
New York's potter's field, some because their families are unable to
meet funeral expenses, but many more because they met death in
accidents and were never identified. Meantime, their families' grief
is continually renewed by uncertainty. The sparsely populated county
of Los Angeles in California reported for one year over one hundred
amnesia victims unidentified and consequently committed to insti-
These figures apply to representative cities in normal times. In
fire, flood and earthquake, the number of unidentified victims is
appalling. Children, separated from their families, are never reunited
with them. The dead and the injured are unclaimed. Bereaved fam-
ilies are in doubt for years about the fate of their loved ones. When
the Ohio River overflowed its banks and routed thousands out of
108 IDENTIFICATION BY THE HAND
their homes, scattering family units, when the Morro Castle burned,
when San Francisco was devastated by fire and quakes, rescue
workers spent harrowing hours tracing the identity of living and
dead; and anxious families waited, often for news which never came.
The government recognized the aid which fingerprinting would
give when it ordered impressions made of all enlisted men in the
world war. For this reason, the number of missing and unknown
soldier dead was much cut down.
I would certainly not favor compulsory fingerprinting of everyone.
In the first place, compulsion in such matters is hardly in the spirit
of a democratic country; in the second, as I have said, records of
this sort might very well be misused. But that does not mean that
use of fingerprints and handprints for identification need be post-
poned until a new society eliminates man's oppression of man. On
the contrary, private records made by yourself for your own use are
today both feasible and of untold value.
PART FO UR The Hand as Vocational Guide
Chapter XXL CHILD TRAINING
IN DISCUSSING the application of hand analysis to vocational
guidance, I wish first to take issue with the neat tabular classifica-
tions by which palmists used to assign a person to life as baker,
broker, soldier or prima donna by virtue of a single indication of the
hand. Nothing like that is possible. In prescribing a life's work, we
must be as open minded and exact as a physician in prescribing a
cure for diabetes. Tables sweepingly recommending certain vocations
to hands of a given conformation are comparable to the medicine
man's cure-all, and quack remedies in this field can be just as dis-
astrous as in medicine.
I do not mean that hands are of no value in choosing your voca-
tion. On the contrary, careful hand analysis, in my opinion, is an
important branch of both psychology and physiology, or of the
combined science which will some day probably take their place. To
date, those systems of vocational guidance which lay claim to any
scientific basis use the methods and content of both these sciences
psychology which deals with the workings of man's more or less
intangible processes, and physiology which deals with the tangible,
physical evidences of his functioning. Study of hands, with its bear-
ing on both the mental or psychic aspect of man and on the medical
or physical, should certainly be a part of all efforts to fit round
pegs into round roles, square pegs into square holes. Study of man
must precede proper direction of him, whether by himself or by
others, and the hands, I have found, are a sure aid in man's study
In my opinion the time to begin vocational training is in child-
hood. During the formative years, talents may be either developed
naturally or twisted into unhealthy channels Though specialized
110 THE HAND AS VOCATIONAL GUIDE
training should usually be postponed until much later, a general
direction should be decided upon quite early in life.
In this connection, it is necessary for parents to take a most ob-
jective point of view. Too often, I have seen promising children
ruined because parents insisted on living their lives for them. That
is not at all what I mean by early training. Where choice between
various methods and subjects of study is required, the child's apti-
tudes and strength should be the guides. Certainly not the parents'
If a child's hand is much lined and flabby in consistency, you will
find nervous excitability far beyond what is normal for a young per-
son. Of course, glandular disturbances may be the cause, but paren-
tal mistakes, overindulgence, lack of regularity, bad temper in the
parents, are almost sure to be an aggravating factor.
When, in a much-lined hand, the life line and the line of head are
joined for a considerable distance, you have a timid child, dependent
on others for encouragement. Such a child needs to be given self-
reliance. He requires tranquility in the home and the companionship
of others of his own age. If the headline is of good quality, he
may be mentally precocious, yet arrested in his development because
he is afraid to venture. Long, pointed fingers increase the sensitive
A child whose head and life lines are wide apart in both hands,
who has firm unlined palms, will require cautious management. His
independence should not be curbed, but impulsiveness and reckless-
ness will need to be modified.
From a child's hand you can tell whether the wonderful stories
which all children recount as true are the products of a vivid imagi-
nation, of illogical thinking, or of a wish to impress you or to excuse
himself. The one characteristic should be cultivated, the other ten-
dencies can be cured. From the child's hand you can determine how
heavy a burden of study and physical exertion he is able to bear. You
can also pick the natural aptitudes to be developed usefully and find
the lacks which should be supplemented. A child with very short fin-
gers can be taught method, though he should never be forced to spend
his life at work which requires minute care for success. A child with
CHILD TRAINING 111
long, straight fingers will not usually need to be trained in orderli-
ness, but he may require that his interests be broadened.
When, in a child's hand, the line of head is broken or full of
islands, it denotes some weakness of the brain. Often such a child
will appear extremely intelligent, keen, full of curiosity, absorbing
knowledge quickly and outdistancing his playmates at school. But
concentration and memory will frequently be lacking, and a child
with this type of headline requires careful supervision. He is likely
to have great mental activity of a disorganized nature, combined
with physical weakness. Therefore, he should be built up physically
and at the same time restrained and directed in his studies and
A line of head, curving far down towards the wrist and connected
at its origin with the line of life, is characteristic of extremely irri-
table and temperamental children. This formation indicates a lively
imagination, nervous excitability and delicate health.
A child having a very soft palm, pointed fingers and a sloping line
of head is usually dreamy, inactive and somewhat indolent. Train-
ing in sports will do much to counteract the bad tendencies of this
nature. A child with a very narrow palm is likely to be selfish. Group
play, development of communal interests and sharing of his posses-
sions are to be encouraged in such a child. Fingers spread very wide
apart usually go with generosity, mental independence and lack of
conventionality. In a child with such a hand, there must be careful
analysis of the relative strength of the other factors. Too great
unconventionality in the hand of a sentimentalist and weakling
will lead to bohemianism without accomplishment. On the other
hand, we owe much of our progress to persons who were not awed
by the conventions of thought and manners.
It seems to me that hands are of especial importance in the train-
ing of children because many natural gifts are not otherwise ap-
parent until much later in life. So long as an Albert Einstein can
fail in school mathematics, we must look for other means of guid-
ing ourselves in child training than merely the school record and
behavior in the home. The study of hands ought to be one of those
112 THE HAND AS VOCATIONAL GUIDE
Chapter XXII. ADULT VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE
SPECIALIZATION is the keynote of present-day vocations. For
greater efficiency, man has subdivided even the physical labor of
roadbuilding or the manufacture of an automobile into many
processes with special machinery and special operators assigned to
each. As for the sciences and humanities, our fund of knowledge is
adding to itself such detail that one man is expected to master only
a small fraction of the tremendous whole. Physicians have divided
the body into tens of little bits, and doctors are ear specialists, eye
specialists, abdominal surgeons, dermatologists. The general practi-
tioner is almost extinct. Whereas the ancients produced men who
could speak authoritatively about the movements of astral bodies,
the plant life of the earth, the mental processes of man, the conven-
tions of art, literature and drama; today a man does well indeed to
become expert in but a single branch of one science. You have
electro-physicists, physicists who deal only in the dynamics of wave
mechanics, physicists who spend their lives studying radioactivity.
Each devotes years to training for his profession. Theoretically, a
mistaken choice is not uncorrectable, but it is often practically so.
Men who might have, been great statesmen are forced by their fam-
ilies or by some mistaken boyhood sentimentality to study and be-
come unhappy and unsuccessful surgeons. Women who might com-
pete with men in adventurous activities are condemned because of
family pressure to lives in quiet, "womanly" occupations.
I do not want to take too unreal an attitude about our ability to
pick and choose our life's work. I fully realize that poverty and lack
of education, the necessity to go to work very young and all such
very real circumstances interfere with our freedom to become all
we are capable of being. Certainly, a person planning his future will
need to consider the trends in modern industry and professions and
not choose a certain type of work which has been superseded by newer
methods. Certainly he will have to figure on the labor market, the
supply of trained persons in relation to the abundance or scarcity
of jobs in a particular field. Yet, to the extent that self-knowledge
will help in adjusting people to conditions as they exist or in chang-
ADULT VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE 113
ing those conditions, to that extent will hand analysis be a real aid in
To begin with, let us classify the vocations, though I shall make
no attempt to be all-inclusive in my list. There are certain occupa-
tions which require method, order and precision above all else.
Accounting, bookkeeping, office management, various kinds of clerk-
ing, laboratory work in chemistry or physics, secondary research,
the keeping of records, historical, geological, ethnological research,
administration, the law, in its less spectacular aspects, even the
adventurous callings like soldiering and navigation require disci-
pline and order. For patience and method, look especially to long,
straight fingers. If they have square tips, expect practicality in ad-
dition, and little imagination. Long, squaretipped fingers are ideal
for the bookkeeper or record clerk.
Long, tapering fingers, provided that the thumb is strong enough,
and mount Jupiter prominent enough to give leadership, might be
excellent for a government administrative officer. The length of his
fingers would give him the patience and methodical approach neces-
sary for dealing with endless details. The tapering fingers would
provide sufficient sensitiveness and intuition to facilitate his dealings
with others, to help him gauge the public temper. A strong thumb
and firm hand would give him energy and determination, lack of
which is the most outstanding fault of long, tapering fingers. Mount
Jupiter would add qualities of leadership and ambition. For states-
manship, as contrasted with efficient government clerking, a wide
palm ought also to provide the breadth of outlook and energy of
the spatulate shape, and the line of head should be of good quality,
preferably straight and well-balanced.
Short fingers are usually associated with a larger, more compre-
hensive point of view than is permitted by the long-fingered preoc-
cupation with details. Among the short-fingered occupations, I would
list promoters, publicists, financiers, investment bankers, bridge
builders ( though not the draftsmen and subordinate architects and
engineers who figure stresses and compute the arches and suspen-
sions), theatrical entrepeneurs, advertising experts, traders, adven-
turers, aviators, and so on. Short-fingered, vigorous hands, in which
the mental aspects are little developed usually belong to those who
114 THE HAND AS VOCATIONAL GUIDE
work at out-door occupations calling for considerable physical
The hand of great dexterity will usually be neither exceptionally
short- nor long-fingered. Skilled mechanics, surgeons, operators of
precision machines, cabinet makers, manicurists, watchmakers, em-
broiderers, barbers, sculptors, pianists, typesetters these will gen-
erally have fingers of moderate length, and the other indications of
the hand will show how the manual dexterity can be put to use.
A long, thin second phalanx and prominent base on the thumb often
indicate the accurate touch so necessary to the surgeon, dentist and
While the length of the fingers will give some indication of the
general method of working and thinking natural to a man, the
fingertips will greatly modify that preliminary finding. It is a safe
assumption to assign sensitivity and intuition to pointed and taper-
ing tips, practically to square ones, and energy to spready ones.
The various combinations of differently shaped tips with fingers of
different lengths will be even more significant than the story of
either the fingers or the tips alone.
I think, however, that I can permit myself one generalization in
connection with the various shapes of fingertips. Persons who have
many dealings with others, whose success is dependent on their
judgment of others and on tact and intuition, such as interviewers in
employment agencies, head waiters, actors, teachers, claim adjusters,
salesmen, contact men of all kinds, welfare workers, beauty oper-
ators, decorators, hotel managers such persons should have the ma-
jority of their fingertips of tapering shape. Those whose work is
largely practical and whose relations with coworkers are more or less
impersonal can safely have squarish fingertips. Those who must
dominate others have spatulate tips.
From the tips and fingers, we can form a rough picture of the
kinds of work for which a man is fitted. Of course, to divide voca-
tions by rigid lines is both incorrect and misleading. A mining en-
gineer, assigned to supervise a new development in unexplored moun-
tain regions, will require method and precision to make assays, to
figure engineering problems. He will need tact, ingenuity, under-
standing and authority to deal with a strange people. He should have
ADULT VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE 115
daring and physical energy and endurance. His hand would have to
be a mixed hand, yet with certain traits outstanding.
The writer, the lawyer, the public speaker, the preacher, the news-
paper reporter, the salesman, the auctioneer, the canvasser, the inter-
preter, the translator, need strong development of the Mercury
finger. This finger governs verbal facility, whether of the spoken or
written word. Yet an easy flow of words by no means makes either
the great author or the great speaker; nor even the successful and
aggressive salesman. Each occupation requires other gifts besides.
For each of these professions there is no one ideal combination of
handmarkings, representing combinations of talents; there are many.
And for almost every hand there is more than one fitting avenue of
expression. Your hand will not so much tell you the one and only
way by which you may succeed and be happy as indicate the paths by
which you cannot, and also, show you a number by which you might.
As illustration, I should like to describe a number of hands of per-
sons who have found the work in which they could be satisfied. The
first is the hand of a successful business man. He has a strong
thumb, well balanced, with the will phalanx and the reasoning pha-
lanx of about the same length. He is not unduly obstinate nor is he
weak-willed and easily swayed by others. His line of head is straight
and firm. That line does not show excess imagination, but rather a
utilitarian point of view. His palm is flat and not overly wide, a
shape which goes with well-defined interests and concentration on
those interests. His heavy Mercury finger with its spatulate tip points
to shrewdness and energy in business dealings.
The hand of a popular and versatile actor showed these charac-
teristics: conic, tapered shape, indicating artistic sensitivity; long
fingers, wide apart and flexible, showing concern with detail, a broad
mind and adaptability; a supple thumb, turned back, indicating good
reasoning power and generous exuberance; a long, deeply marked
line of head sloping down to the mount of Luna, indicating a vivid
and creative imagination.
The hand of a friend of mine, a prominent engineer, is squarely
built and practical in shape, giving him order, precision, great de-
termination and perseverance. His line of head is straight, starting
some distance above the line of life. Both the Apollo finger and the
116 THE HAND AS VOCATIONAL GUIDE
mount of Mercury are prominent, giving him a sort of instinctive
business sense and a practical, scientific mind. It is true that he
lacks originality and versatility, but through persistence and good
judgment, aided to a considerable extent by sheer good luck, as his
strong line of Apollo indicated, he has become remarkably successful.
Another friend of mine, an inventor, also shows a scientific mind,
but his other qualities are far different from those of the practical
engineer of whom I just spoke. His hand is spatulate, broad, with
fairly long, well-developed, widely separated fingers. His outstand-
ing traits are quick decision and action, unconventionality, clear
reasoning power, a gift for taking care of detail. His strong line of
head, curving slightly upward towards Mercury at its end, gives him
an analytical mind and the ability to concentrate.
My barber has a line of head joined to his line of life for a short
distance with a slight slope at its end. His fingers are fairly long and
tapering. He is an inoffensive, shy man, sympathetic in manner and
possessing a strong sense of responsibility.
Of course, it would be impossible for me to give an example of a
hand for each profession or trade, much less exhaust all the possi-
bilities for each. Few of us realize how many different vocations there
are. That reason, among others, accounts for so many misfits. We
choose our life's work out of necessity, taking the first thing which
is offered; or in a spirit of emulation, trying what someone we ad-
mire has succeeded in ; or out of friendship, taking a trade which our
best friend has chosen; or out of obedience, letting our parents de-
cide for us. Most of us consider only two or three alternatives before
we find ourselves somehow headed in a given direction. I shall make
no attempt to list the many thousands of occupations. Below is a
partial list of occupations beginning with a, b and c. Such lists can
be made for every letter in the alphabet.
artist automobile mechanic
attorney - aviator
art teacher accountant
ADULT VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE
adding machine operator
clock and watchmaker
Look over this list. Besides these, there are hundreds of other
occupations, not even touched on here, others like subdivisions of
the ones I have mentioned. Consider yourself in relation to all the
vocations you can think of and then study yourself objectively,
using the hand as one of your guides, to decide whether you are well
fitted for the four or five different callings which seem most to
PART FIVE Analyses of Some Famous Hands
In the following pages you will find the hands and analyses of
ten world famous personages outstanding in different lines of en-
deavor. Observe the various signs and lines in their hands that in-
dicate their fame and success.
THE HAND OF FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT is almost
pure spatulate a most unusual thing in this world of mixed and
contradictory personalities. This, of course, shows a person of great
independence who necessarily expresses himself in action. As you
know, advanced and liberal views go with a spatulate hand, and
President Roosevelt is now known throughout the world as an ex-
ponent of progress.
As to the fingers, they are quite short and heavy, showing a very
broad planning ability, a mind which conceives great projects.
Apollo and Mercury are both strong, which tells us that the president
is social-minded, that he is of sanguinary temperament and that he is
both a gifted orator and though economic royalists might disagree,
an excellent business man. The Saturn finger is unusually short.
There is nothing of the recluse or introvert in Mr. Roosevelt. And,
compared to the Apollo finger, the index finger is also short. I would
say that personal ambition is decidedly not one of the president's
strong traits. His qualities of leadership are, however, displayed by
a heavy mount of Jupiter.
The very free-set, heavy thumb immediately strikes your eye
when you study the president's handprint. This shows great gen-
erosity, independence and will. His broad, open-minded approach to
problems is also bo.ne out by the line of life which curves far out
into his hand. At the same time, the line of life is both deep and
ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS 119
120 ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS
long and is bolstered by the sister line of vitality, indicating remark-
able physical endurance.
The line of head, which is unusually long, runs straight across the
hand, a sign of excellent, balanced intellect, the ability to think
clearly, forcefully and independently. He has an intuitive grasp of
things and an immediate understanding of people. He is by no means
stubborn. On the contrary, he is very ready to seek and take advance,
but he must be convinced that counsel is sound before he will fol-
The president's line of destiny is a most fortunate one for anyone
in a public career. Starting on the mount of Luna, it shows creative
force and the helpful influence of others friends and relatives in
furthering his advancement. The termination of his line of destiny,
which joins the line of heart, points to an exceedingly happy mar-
riage, also influential in bringing success. But the line of Apollo,
beginning as it does on the line of destiny, says that Mr. Roosevelt
himself supplemented the aid from others by his own efforts and is
himself greatly responsible for the high place he holds.
Loyalty and idealism characterize Franklin Roosevelt's affections.
Notice also the three lines, in trident formation, found at the begin-
ning of Roosevelt's line of heart under the finger of Jupiter. These
are the lines of courage, a courage which grows as the obstacles in
his way become more difficult.
From the study of his hand I become more and more convinced
of the greatness of this man and of the place he will occupy in his-
tory. That was my conviction as far back as 1930, when I first
studied his hand that he can truly be counted as one of America's
great men and that his name will go down with those of Washington,
Jefferson and Lincoln as one who saw his country through a most
difficult period and successfully championed its democratic principles.
THE MAN WHO WAS KING does not have a forceful hand. It
is of the conic type which goes with a sensitive, company-loving,
easily influenced and easily bored nature. The present Duke of
ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS 121
Windsor's hand is rather flat, the mount of Luna being particularly
The lines are delicate, and there are many fine lines scattered over
his palm. This shows a nervous, worrying disposition. The line of
life is particularly weak near its beginning, indicating poor health in
childhood. There is, in fact, a definite break very close to the point
at which the lines of life and head separate, sign of danger when the
duke was a boy.
Sensitiveness and lack of self-reliance are shown by the line of
head which starts on the line of life and descends to mount Luna.
This termination, in conjunction with a poorly developed mount of
Luna, indicates moodiness rather than imagination. The many lines
descending from the line of head second this indication. So does
the cross under the finger of Saturn.
Notice that the thumb is of average length, perhaps a little short,
and that its will phalanx bends pliantly out and away from the
hand. A person with this type of thumb is easily swayed and in-
fluenced by others.
One of the most interesting things about the hand of the Duke of
Windsor is that the line of destiny is stopped by the line of heart
interference of the heart with his career. The line of heart is con-
siderably chained and dotted, much more so up to the point where
it meets the line of destiny than thereafter. Such a chained line of
heart, and the fickleness which usually goes with it, is hardly indica-
tive of an adult's well-controlled emotions. I would say that the Duke
of Windsor's hand is that of a man who never grew up. He belongs
to the "lost generation," whose formative years were lived in the hell
of Europe's great war. That generation faced death daily and for re-
laxation turned to irresponsible extravagances and pleasures. Denied
the right to plan their lives and take responsibilities seriously, they
refused to become adult. So with Edward Windsor. The war stunted
his growth as a person. He rebelled against submerging himself in
the pomp and display of his office. He insisted on his right as an in-
dividual to duck responsibility for marriage and personal happiness.
There are two short lines of "marriage" or sex influence on the
side of his hand, so that I should say that there are or have been
or are to be two women in his life.
122 ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS
ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS 123
The lines of restlessness or "travel" are very numerous on the
lower edge of his hand.
But, if you look closely, you will see many squares in this hand
signs of preservation which modify many of the negative qualities.
From these and the triangle at the base of the line of life, I would
judge that Edward, Duke of Windsor, may still play an important
part in world affairs if he asserts his own personality and allows
himself to grow up.
THE HAND OF ADOLF HITLER is in many respects a fateful
hand. It is of the elementary conic or artistic type with tapering
fingers and thick, fleshy bases, denoting emotionalism, selfishness,
passion. The two outstanding mounts are found under the fingers of
Jupiter and Saturn. The first indicates boundless ambition, a domi-
neering, bullying disposition demanding blind submission from
everyone. The second shows moodiness, wide swings from one emo-
tional extreme to another, suicidal morbidity at one moment, then
fanatic self-adulation, meglomania.
Hitler's line of life terminates in a cross, which may be the sign
of a violent end. The line of head terminates in an island which indi-
cates some kind of weakness functional or organic of the brain.
The line of heart, which is short, islanded and broken, shows frus-
tration, bitterness and cruelty. The broken, distorted girdle of Venus
above the line of heart accentuates the destructiveness and unnat-
uralness of this hand.
Most remarkable of all is the line of destiny whose origin is marked
by a cross, its termination by a star under the middle finger. This
line marks the destiny of a man whose fate is out of his control. He
is marked out for an awful, tragic role. The destiny line, you will
note, stretches unbroken and bare from its tragic beginning to its
I do not want to make too detailed an analysis of this man Hit-
ler's hand because I fear that others, finding signs similar to one or
124 ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS
ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS 125
two of Hitler's in their own hands may assign to themselves the
qualities which make Hitler what he is. For this reason, I wish again
to emphasize that no single sign or set of signs can be read apart
from the indications of the hand as a whole. It is only from the
study of the totality of a hand that an accurate analysis can be made.
BENITO MUSSOLINI'S HAND combines the spatulate and the
conic shapes. He has the vanity of the conic-handed and the energy
and strength of the spatulate with which to satisfy his vanity. The
base phalanxes of the spatulate fingers are thick and fleshy, the
fingertips broad and flat. His hands speak of action, movement,
boundless energy and restlessness. But even more than that, they tell
of determination at the cost of humanity, of strength which is bru-
The line of Apollo shows three distinct phases. Its start, on the
line of life, points out the self-made man. There is a sharp change of
direction covering the years from the age of about twenty-five to
forty. Then comes another new direction, almost a new line, grow-
ing out of the old. This seems to apply to the period from the age
of forty to the late fifties. After that there is no more. This robust
son of a blacksmith was about forty when his blackshirts marched
on Rome and he became premier. That happened some sixteen years
The line of destiny, which is exceedingly strong at the period be-
tween the ages of forty and the late fifties, also ends abruptly at
about the same time as the line of Apollo. Mussolini's is an historic
destiny, achieved by blood and force and, I am convinced, short-
lived in its duration.
The most interesting things about the lines of life and head are
the breaks, invariably healed by squares. These show escapes from
dangers, narrow escapes from violence. But if you look closely you
will see a final break, especially apparent in the line of head, which
is not fenced in by a protecting square. Once and that is all that
126 ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS
ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS 127
any man is allowed there is only the violence and no sign of escape
A few other details are of interest. The strong downward curving
fork at the beginning of the heart line shows a violent temper. The
star at the base of the first finger shows qualities of leadership, and
the use of force in imposing that leadership. The clearly marked,
almost unbroken girdle of Venus and the predominant mount,
Venus at the base of the thumb, indicate an oversexed, violent per-
son. Mussolini's hand is clearly a hand of destiny, but hardly of an
altogether happy destiny.
IN PARIS IN 1929, I interviewed most of the French leading per-
sonalities, statesmen, scientists, politicians, etc. Among them was the
then president of the French Senate, M. Paul Doumer. He had a
very unusual hand, in some respects, a very tragic hand. The lines,
especially the break in the heartline, indicated a strange fatality. At
the time, he was already past the age of 70 and one of the most
beloved characters in France. He had given the lives of four sons to
France during the World War. He was known as a capable adminis-
trator. He was personally most charming.
His hand indicated that he would reach the highest honors within
the reach of a Frenchman and that his subsequent end would be
I was rather startled by that hand. M. Doumer noticed my puzzled
expression. Jokingly, he told me that I could tell him anything I saw,
for he had been told by Mme. Thebes, a famous hand analyst of
Paris, many years ago, that he would have a violent end. He shrugged
his shoulders and laughed as much as to say, "What terrors can
death hold for a man who has reached three score years and ten and
lived through everything I have seen?" Despite his philosophic atti-
tude, I saw no need to be brutally direct and told him that all the
lines in his hand indicated some terrific shock but that I really did
not know what to say about it. We had a most interesting conversa-
tion, and then we parted.
128 ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS
ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS 129
Two years later, while writing Hands of Destiny, a feature of mine
syndicated by World Feature Service and the United Features Syn-
dicate, in which I gave analyses of famous hands, I came across the
impression of M. Doumer's hand. He had by then been elected presi-
dent of France, thus fulfilling one of the promises of his hand. In
starting my analysis, I intimated what the break in the heartline
meant. The feature went to more than one hundred newspapers carry-
A few weeks later, Paul Doumer was assassinated by a madman.
Naturally, my seemingly prophetic story then caused quite a sensa-
tion among the various newspaper editors.
One thing I should like to stress that I do not go in for predic-
tions and certainly do not go around foretelling violent death or
assassination; but in this case, if the lines of the hand were of any
significance, they certainly indicated a very tragic and sudden end.
As the reader can see by the breaks in all the lines, especially notice-
able in the lines of heart and of life, all occurring at about the same
time, some sort of fatality was indicated for that time.
A few other indications in this remarkable hand are noteworthy.
The hand was square in general shape, the fingers somewhat pointed,
giving him extreme practicality and keen, intuitive insight. The tri-
angle at the base of the third finger, showing administrative ability
is an interesting mark. Mount Venus, at the base of the thumb, was
the most prominent eminence of this hand, showing a person of great
physical vigor. Altogether, these qualities help explain the peasant
boy who became president of France and lost his life at the hands of
KATHARINE CORNELL'S is one of the most eloquent hands I
have ever seen. In type, it most closely resembles the conic and
knotty. From this you can build a personality which, while extremely
sensitive to the moods and feelings of others, yet possesses a profound
and independent mental life of its own. There is great spiritual
strength in this hand.
130 ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS
ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS 131
The lines of the hand are clear and deep. The line of life, which
has great strength after it passes the early years, indicates a robust
physical constitution and unusual personal magnetism. The line of
heart, which goes up between the bases of the first and second fingers,
gives Miss Cornell deep, unsentimental, sensitive feeling. In its in-
dependence from the line of head, this line of heart indicates that
she has great emotional stability. Her balance allows neither emo-
tional extravagances nor temperamental outbursts.
The line of head is a fitting one for an actress. Its early junction
with the line of life shows sensitivity. The slight slope towards the
mount of imagination adds that quality, so necessary for a career on
The line of destiny, which begins with one branch from the mount
of imagination, is also an excellent indication for an actress. It indi-
cates not only the part imaginative thinking and feeling play in her
career but also the helpful influence of others in building that career
the aid of appreciative audiences, of a producer husband whose
interests are so closely bound with hers.
The most unusual mark in Miss Cornell's hand is the semicircle
ringing the base of her first finger the ring of Solomon. This gives
her intuitive understanding of dramatic values and emotional grasp.
Strangely enough, this mark is present in the hand of Greta Garbo
and was to be seen under Sarah Bernhardt's first finger. Whenever an
actress is able to project to her audience an inner beauty and spirit-
uality, I look for this mark.
Another interesting sign in Miss Cornell's hand is the cross at the
base of her third finger which indicates a very keen sense of observa-
tion. From this I would judge that her impersonations are based not
only on intuitive understanding, but also on study of reality. The
ability to represent what she feels and sees is aided by a flowing ease
of expression, indicated by her long finger of Mercury.
FANNIE HURST'S HAND is knotty and conic in its predominant
characteristics. This combination gives her both the independence of
thought and the sensitive understanding of people which her writ-
132 ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS
ings show. The palm of the hand, you will notice, is covered with a
fine network of delicate lines, showing her intensity, partly nervous,
and her openness to impressions from things and conditions around
her. Her lined hand is also an indication of early struggles and un-
The first finger, though smaller than the second, is slightly larger
than the third. This indicates strong ambition. But the square under
the first finger, while it does not lessen the ambition, counteracts
whatever bitterness there might be from failure to achieve success
in all its desired aspects. The long finger of Mercury is the outward
symbol of Miss Hurst's ease of expression.
Miss Hurst's line of life, circling the heel of the thumb, is delicate,
though very clear and without breaks, indicating strong resistance
and vitality. The line of head, which begins on the line of life, shows
sensitiveness early in life and lack of self-confidence. The clear and
independent path taken by the line of head later on indicates her
growing independence and self-reliance. Notice that the headline
splits at its termination, sending one branch towards the mount of
imagination, the other to the negative mount of Mars, portraying
her qualities of deepseeing imagination and moral courage.
Miss Hurst's line of heart is slightly chained, though the quality
of the line is forceful. I should say that Miss Hurst is not altogether
consistent in her emotions, though her feelings are intense. The
termination of the line of heart at the base of the first finger indicates
a strong sense of social responsibility.
A number of special signs have unusual significance in Miss Hurst's
hand. The line of intuition is very well defined, and there is a cross,
usually associated with keen observation, under the third finger.
Thus, Miss Hurst has at her command three qualities invaluable to
a writer: fluency, observation a basis for realism, and intuitive
understanding. The triangle between the line of destiny and the line
of intuition shows Miss Hurst's ability to apply her understanding
in telling fashion.
Miss Hurst's thumb is a very strong one. The joint is knotty,
showing a somewhat philosophic and abstract trend to her reasoning.
The will phalanx is weil developed. The setting is low and free, sign
of a generous, uninhibited nature.
ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS 133
134 ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS
Two mounts are especially well developed in Miss Hurst's hand:
the mount of Luna, or imagination, forming the outer heel of the
hand; and the mount of Mercury, which designates an excellent busi-
THE HAND POSSESSED by Secretary of Agriculture Henry A.
Wallace is a most unusual combination of types. It is both spatulate
and pointed, disclosing a most complex and somewhat contradictory
nature. Here are both the furious energy and drive of those who
have spready, spatulate hands; and the insight, intuition, almost,
psychic powers and idealistic dreaminess of those who have pointed
hands. The combination of these two types the spatulate and the
psychic is a very rare and a very beautiful one. Its beauty is
emphasized in Mr. Wallace's hand by almost perfect balance. Fingers
and palm are exceedingly well proportioned.
Mr. Wallace's thumb is flexible, with both the first and second
phalanxes well developed, revealing fairly strong will power and
brilliant reasoning ability.
But it is really in the lines of Mr. Wallace's hand that I find the
most revealing indications of his complex, brilliant and unusual
makeup. His lifeline is very long and clear, reinforced by a second
line the line of vitality inside the line of life. This should indicate
long life, almost boundless energy, action and accomplishment.
When you look for the head- and heartlines, you find only one
line the two joined into one. This in itself is a very unusual
feature in any hand. In Mr. Wallace's hand it denotes tremendous
intensity of purpose. Those who have their head- and heartlines
joined into one possess, above all, great capacity for work. They are
able to keep their own counsel. They are at their best when on top,
in executive positions, not hampered by the rule and direction of
others. They shine by their daring ideas and strong ideals.
At the same time, they have a persistent determination which
makes them succeed against overwhelming odds in almost everything
they set out to do. I have seen this single, combined heart- and
ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS 135
136 ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS
headline in hands of outstanding leaders generals, captains of
industry, and the like and, in whatever endeavor they find them-
selves, they always leave an indelible mark of their personality and
That Mr. Wallace's hand is a hand of great potentialities and
brilliant future success is seen first of all in the line which starts off
from his line of life and runs strongly to the base of his third finger
a line of brilliancy and a sure sign of success and fame.
There are many squares, found especially in the center of his
hand, which are marks of preservation. The triangle seen above the
headline, between the second and third fingers, indicates outstand-
ing administrative ability. The square under the first finger tells us
that he will not let his ambitions run away with him. The many
lines found at the outer edge of his hand show a restless nature,
not satisfied with things as they are if they can be improved, and
also point to the probability of much travel.
In summing up, I want to say that, basing my conclusions on the
totality of the shape and on the formation of the lines in Henry A.
Wallace's hand, I would not be surprised to see his outstanding
abilities rewarded with the highest honors this nation has to offer.
THE HAND WHICH GOES WITH THE VOICE that tells movie
and radio audiences about all the big events in the sports world is
one of the luckiest I have ever seen. Not that luck is all there is to
be seen in Lowell Thomas' hand. In type, it is a combination, and a
rather unusual one, of the spatulate and knotty shapes. If you refer
back to the section in which hand types are discussed, you will see
why this combination is out of the ordinary. It means a marriage of
action with thought not just business and administrative ability,
but profound, original thinking.
Furthermore, Lowell Thomas' line of head tells me that he is not
just a theoretician so far as sports are concerned. The double curve,
first down, then up, to be found at the end of his line of head gives
him that perfect coordination of mind and muscle which is necessary
ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS 137
138 ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS
to the champion athlete. The quality of the line of head is excellent,
clear, deep and unbroken.
The lifeline in Lowell Thomas' hand is one of his strongest. But
notice the island near its beginning. From this I judge that, like other
men of action, Thomas will encounter serious danger during the
course of his life. The square right in the center of his hand gives
every promise that he will come through all right.
The heartline, with its fork under the index finger and the many
small leader-lines going into it, is the heartline of a spirited man,
loyal in friendship and well endowed with physical courage. The
thumb shows strong temper, easily aroused but quick to subside.
The line of destiny, starting from the mount of imagination, goes
up to a point between the second and third fingers, indicating that
Mr. Thomas' fate is not altogether under his own control. Yet, fate
has been very kind to him. His career has been aided by friends,
and circumstances have furthered his success.
Lowell Thomas' line of Apollo, which starts from the fortunate
square in the center of his hand and runs up in a number of parallel
branches to the base of his third finger, indicates both luck and
versatility. And notice the star on this line, under the third finger.
A star in this position, I have found to be a most brilliant sign of
fame, honors and fortune. The triangle at the base of Thomas' line of
life indicates that he may at some future date test this good luck of
his in some public capacity.
And, last, look at the long, independent little finger in Mr.
Thomas' hand. This goes with the fluent ease of expression for which
Mr. Thomas is famous.
WALT DISNEY'S HAND is the fortunate combination of knotty-
philosophic and spatulate. This is indeed a lucky duality, for it gives
Mr. Disney the capacity for independent thinking plus the energy
and courage for action. Too many thinkers live in a world of abstract
ideas and do not contribute directly to the world we live in ; and too
many of our men of action are incapable of arriving at sound bases
ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS 139
140 ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS
for their activities. From the creator of the world's most popular
comedians, Mickey Mouse and his troupe, we can expect both orig-
inality and action.
Now, to look at the individual fingers. Notice that the first and
third are long compared with the middle finger. This signifies the
attributes of leadership, dramatic talent and sociability more promi-
nent in Disney's makeup than the serious, ingrown thoughtfulness
which is associated with the finger of Saturn. The little finger is un-
usually long. Ordinarily, it reaches only to the base of the third
finger's first phalanx. In Disney's hand it extends almost to the
middle of the Apollo finger's first phalanx. This underscores the
prominence of Mercurial qualities: business ability, fluency of ex-
pression and humor.
The thumb, which is of a pronounced spatulate type, marks out
Disney's courageous and enterprising nature.
The lines of Walter Disney's hand are markedly individual. His
lifeline in the right hand is unusually long and firm except for some
minor breaks near the beginning. It shows great improvement over
the very broken lifeline in his left hand, which I have not reproduced.
The headline, strangely enough in a man who has accomplished so
much in public ways, is closely tied to the lifeline at its beginning,
even showing portions which penetrate within the area enclosed by
the line of life. This shows a supersensitive nature which would al-
most have made a hermit of Disney were it not offset by the large
triangle of humor seen connecting the lines of head and heart at the
base of the second finger.
The line of heart is set pretty low in the hand, which indicates
that Mr. Disney is quite emotional. The destiny line^hows a definite
break at the line of head and a new beginning at another point on
the line of head. This second part of the line of destiny joins the
triangle of humor and shows how Disney found himself in his satiric
artistry, and how he won success through it.
The girdle of Venus is quite noticeable in Disney's left hand,
though less pronounced in the right. This gives evidence of his crea-
tive imagination, which he has perhaps partly suppressed in arriving
at an outstanding business success. Jhe prominence of mount Luna,
along the outer edge of the hand, however, also attests to an active
ANALYSES OF SOME FAMOUS HANDS 141
imagination which finds expression in the thousand and one humor-
ous details in his cartoon-comedies.
But even more important than the mount of Luna in Disney's
hand is the mount of Apollo, whose fullness is directly under the
Apollo finger. This mount is usually to be found between the base of
the second and third fingers. When it occurs directly under the third
finger it is an exceedingly fortunate indication. In Disney's hand it
probably more than makes up for the absence of the Apollo line.
There are many lines of restlessness along the outer edge of Dis-
ney's hand, and he will probably travel about, perhaps go in for
exploration or flying fairly late in life. But whatever he does, the
saving grace of humor, so prominently designated by the triangle of
which I have already spoken, will temper his actions and his
How to Ma/(e Imprints and Analyze Your Hand
IN studying your hand, be sure to examine every portion of it, but
do not let the details confuse you. First, form an estimate of the
hand as a whole, then relate the variations of your lines, fingers,
mounts and markings to that whole.
The back of the hand makes a good starting point, for it will tell
the general type of your hand. Note the length and heaviness of the
fingers in proportion to the palm and in relation to each other.
Examine the joints. Are they prominent, or are the fingers smooth?
What is the quality of your skin? Coarse or fine? But do not let
artificial coarsening of the skin from exposure to cold, wind or ma-
terials used in your work confuse you. Look carefully at the nails.
Now feel the hand and the fingers. Are they stiff and uncompro-
mising or supple? Note whether the fingers bend back easily at all
the points or more at one than at another. Are the fingers wide apart
or close together? Are they straight or crooked? Do some lean or
bend towards others?
Now, turn the hand and look at the palm. What is the first im-
pression you get of it? Is it long and narrow or wide? Is it square,
oval, tapering or sp ready in shape? Notice its color. Look at it in
relief. Are the mounts prominent or is your palm flat in appearance?
Is the flesh firm and elastic or flabby?
Look again at the fingers from the palmar side, repeating all the
observations you made of them from the back. Pay special attention
to the thumb. Is it set low? Is it set free or close to the hand? Is it
long or short, and which is its longest and heaviest phalanx?
Now turn to the lines. First, before examining them individually,
form a general impression of their quality and number. Is your palm
marked with many fine lines or are there few? Are most of them
clear and firm or are they broken up^ broad and shallow, feathered,
islanded or interrupted by dots? Study the lines in relation to each
HOW TO MAKE IMPRINTS 143
other. Which are longest and strongest? What is the general pattern
formed by the principal lines of your hand?
Do this with both your hands, comparing the two carefully. The
left hand shows inherited tendencies. On it you will see the char-
acteristics and tendencies transmitted to you by your parents. From
the right hand, you can judge the variations you have composed on
the main motifs shown in your left. You will be able to tell whether
or not you have made the most of your potentialities, whether you
have fulfilled the promise of your left hand. If you are left-handed,
of course reverse the significance of the two hands, for the left will
then be the operative one.
All these preliminary observations you can make from the hand
itself. There is, however, only one accurate way of carefully analyz-
ing the hand. That is from a clear imprint. A good impression will
bring out the major lines of the hand, pointing up their differences in
quality. Moreover, a good print gives you a permanent record which
you can compare with later prints as time goes on. A series of im-
pressions of the same hand taken at regular intervals over a number
of years is a much more telling record of your development than is a
photograph album. The lines of the hand change as you change.
For that reason, I urge everyone to keep such a record of himself.
It not only makes an interesting memento, but it actually gives you
a diagnosis of your physical and mental development. From care-
ful comparison of the prints, you should be able to reorientate your-
self if you have strayed off the path of constructive development, for
you will clearly see the minute changes in yourself which are making
you into a different person.
You may want to send an impression to me for analysis. Your
own study of the hand will tell you much. What I can give you in
addition is the knowledge gained through study of thousands of
impressions of prominent persons all over the world. Because the
publishers foresaw that you might wish to have me examine your
handprint, they have made arrangements by which I can give you
a general analysis, based on the general type of your hand and the
outstanding trends revealed in its lines.
And now for the method of making hand impressions. I have in-
cluded in this book eight sheets of paper sensitized by a process
144 AND ANALYZE YOUR HAND
which I invented for the purpose. On this paper, you can make an
impression of your hand without in any way staining or soiling it.
The directions are simple. For best results, prepare a solution of soda
one teaspoonful of bicarbonate or the plain washing or baking
variety of soda in a tumblerful of glycerine. The glycerine, which is
quite, inexpensive and can be bought at any drugstore, makes the
clearest impressions. If you do not want to trouble about glycerine,
lukewarm, soapy water, in the same proportions, will give an ade-
After you have dissolved the teaspoonful of soda in the liquid, wet
a corner of your handkerchief or some other small piece of cloth and
moisten your hand left or right, whichever is the one you use for
writing and other activities. Be sure to avoid excess moisture, as too
much liquid will blur the impression.
Place a pad of four thicknesses of turkish towelling under the
impression paper. Then put your hand, palm down with the fingers
slightly spread, on the sensitized sheet. Press down the hand with an
even, light pressure, gently applying extra pressure with the other
hand to the fingertips and palm. Be sure that you do not shift your
hand while you are making the print.
After you have removed your hand, allow the print to dry for
about an hour. When you are quite sure that it is dry, replace your
hand in exactly the same position as you had it in when you made
the print. Now, with a pencil, carefully trace the outline of your hand
as it rests on the paper. When you are finished, you will have a com-
plete print, the impression giving you the lines, markings and emi-
nences of the fingers and the palm within the pencil outline which
you have just added.
The first thing to do now is to write your name and the date on
the back of the sheet of paper so that you will be able to refer to the
impression in the future. Then try to analyze the print or, if you
wish, send it to me for an analysis.